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The beft, cheapeft, and most Popular NOVELS published, well printed in 

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1 Agat 

2 Head 

4 The 

5 The 

6 My 

7 Olivi 

10 Mar; 

11 The 

12 Bach 

15 Rutli 

17 Jack 

18 Chai 

20 The 

22 Haft 

23 Knij 

25 Dod' 
3 5 

27 The 

28 Torn Burke. 


sNiaas. I 

Double vol., 3s. 

Charles Lever. 

30 Davenport Dunn. 

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's. Trollope. 

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50 Qnly Uluid Lady Scott. 

57 Mainstone's Housekeeper 

Eliza Meteyard. 

58 Mafter of the Hounds "Scrutator." 


59 Conftance Herbert Miss Jeivsbury. 

60 Cardinal Pole TV. H. Ainsiuorth. 

61 Jealous Wife Miss Par doe. 

62 Rival Beauties Miss Pardoe. 

63 Hunchback (The) Victor Hugo. 

65 Lord Mayor of London 

TV H. Ainsiuorth. 

66 Elsie Venner Oliver TV. Holmes. 

67 Charlie Thornhill Charles Clark. 

68 House of Elmore F TV Robinson. 

72 Country Gentleman " Scrutator." 

73 La Beata T. Adolphus Trollope. 

74 Marietta T Adolphus Trollope. 

75 Barrington Charles Lever. 

76 Beppo the Conscript 

T Adolphus Trollope. 

77 Woman's Ransom F. TV. Robinson. 

78 Deep Waters Anna H. Drury. 

79 Misrepresentation Anna H. Drury. 

80 Tilbury Nogo PVhyte Melville. 

81 Queen of the Seas 

Captain Armstrong. 

82 He Would Be a Gentleman 

Samuel Lover. 

83 Mr. Stewarts Intentions 

F. TV. Robinson. 

84 Mattie : a Stray 

Author of " Carry's Confessions." 

85 Doctor Thorne Anthony Trollope. 

86 The Macdermots Anthony Trollope. 

87 Lindisfarn Chase Thomas A. Trollope. 

88 Rachel Ray Anthony Trollope. 

89 Luttrell of Arran Charles Lever. 

90 Giulio Malatesta Thomas A. Trollope. 


91 Wildflower F. W. Robinson. 

92 Irish Stories Samuel Lover. 

93 The Kellys Anthony Trollope. 

94 Married Beneath Him 

Author of "Lost Sir Massingberd" 

95 Tales of all Countries 

Anthony Trollope. 

96 Castle Richmond Anthony Trollope. 

97 Mount Sorel Mrs. Marsh Caldivell. 

98 John Law, the Projector 

TV. H. Ainsivorth. 

99 Jack Brag Theodore Hook. 

100 The Bertrams Anthony Trollope. 

101 Faces for Fortunes 

Augustus Mayheiv. 

102 Father Darcy Mrs. Marsh Caldivell. 

103 Time the Avenger 

Mrs. Marsh Caldivell. 

104 Under the Spell F. TV. Robinson. 

105 Market Harborough 

TVhyte Melville. 

106 Slaves of the Ring F TV. Robinson. 

107 Alice Learmont, is. 

Author of "John Halifax." 

108 Clover Cottage, is. 

M. TV. Savage. 

109 For a Pin, is. De Saint Germain. 

no Emilia Wyndham 

Mrs. Marsh Caldivell. 

in One and Twenty F. TV. Robinson. 

112 Douglas' Vow 

Mrs. Edmund Jennings. 

113 Woodleigh 

Author of" Woman's Ransom." 

114 Theo Leigh Annie Thomas. 




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SCREW . . . 

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.. 415 



The half-hour dressing-bell rung out as Sir Duncan 
Eorbes jumped from the hired carriage which had borne 
him the last stage of his journey to Kilsyth, and immedi- 
ately followed his servant, who had put in a pantomimic- 
ally abrupt appearance at the carriage-door, to his room. 
The steaming horses shook their sides, and rattled their 
harness dismally, in the dreary autumnal evening ; but a 
host of gillies and understrappers had hurried out at the 
noise of the approaching wheels, and so quickly despoiled 
the carriage of its luggage, that within a very few minutes 
its driver — comforted by something over his fare, in addi- 
tion to a stiff glass of the incomparable Kilsyth whisky — 
was slowly wending his way back, over a road which to any 
one but a Highlander would have seemed impassable in the 
fog that had begun to cloud the neighbouring mountains in 
an almost impenetrable shroud of misty gray. From the 
cold, chilly, damp mountain air, from the long solitary ride, 
for the last twenty miles of which he had not met a human 
creature, to the airy bedroom with its French paper, the 


bright wood-fire burning on its hearth, the wax candles on 
the dressing-table, the drawn chintz curtains, the neat 
writing-table, the little shelf of prettily -bound well-chosen 
books, was a transition indeed for Duncan Forbes. One 
glance around sufficed to show him all these things, and to 
show him in addition the steaming bath, the warmed linen, 
the other various arrangements for his- comfort which the 
forethought of Dixon his servant had prepared for him. 
He was used to luxuries, and thoroughly accustomed to 
rough it ; he was not an impressionable young man ; but 
tbere are times, even if we be only eight-and-twenty, good- 
looking, and in the Household Brigade, when we feel a 
kind of sympathy with the working-man who declared that 
"life was not all beer and skittles," and are disposed to 
look rather more seriously than usual upon our own con- 
dition and our surroundings. The journey from Grlenlaggan 
— it is, it must be confessed, an awful road — had had its 
effect on Duncan Forbes. "Why he should have permitted 
himself to be worked upon either by a sense of solitude, or 
by an involuntary tribute to the wildness of the scenery, 
or perhaps by dyspepsia, arising from a recent change of 
living, to fall temporarily into a low state of mind; to 
think about his duns, debts, and difficulties; to wonder 
why he was not at that moment staying with his mother in 
Norfolk, instead of plunging into the depths of the High- 
lands ; to think of his cousin Ethel Spalding, and to clench 
his fists violently and mutter strong expressions as the 
image of a certain Dundas Adair, commonly called Lord 
Adair, rose before him simultaneously with that of his said 
cousin ; why he then fell into a state which was half lachry- 
mose and half morose, impelling him to refresh himself 
from a silver flask, and to make many mental resolutions 
as to his future life, — why he did all this is utterly imma- 
terial to us, as Sir Duncan Forbes is by no manner of 
means our hero, in fact, has very little to do with our story. 


But the journey had its effect upon him, and rendered the 
comfort and luxury of Kilysth doubly precious in his eyes. 
So that when he had had his bath, and, well advanced in 
his dressing, was luxuriating in the comfort of cleanliness 
and fresh linen, and the prospect of an excellent dinner, he 
had sufficiently returned to his normal condition to ask 
Dixon — who had preceded him by a couple of days — 
whether the house was full, and who were there. 

"House quite full, sir," replied Dixon. " Colonel 
Jefferson, sir, of the First Life-guards ; Capting Severn, 
sir, of the Second Life-guards, and his lady ; Markis Tow- 
cester, as have jist jined the Blues ; Honble Capting Shad- 
dock, of the Eighteenth 'Lssars ; Lord Roderick Douglas, 
of the Scots Fusiliers ; and — " 

"Drop the Army List, Dixon," growled his master, at 
that moment performing heavily on his head with a pair of 
hair-brushes ; " who else is here ? " 

" There's the Danish Minister, sir — which I won't try 
to pronounce his name — and his lady; and there's the 
Dook and Duchess of Northallerton — which the Dook has 
the gout that bad, his man told me — used to be in our 
ridgment, Sir Duncan, and was bought out by his mother 
on his father's death — as to be past bearin' sometimes ; and 
Lady Fairfax, sir ; and Lady Dunkeld, as is Lady Muriel's 
cousin, sir ; and a Mr Pitcairn, as is a distant relation of 
the family's ; and a Mr Fletcher, as is, I'm told, a hartist, 
or something of that kind, sir — he hasn't brought a man 
here, sir ; so I'm unable to say ; but he seems to be well 
thought of, sir ; quite at his ease, as they say, among the 
company, sir." 

" Dear me ! " said Duncan Forbes, suspending the 
action of the hair-brushes for a moment, while he grinned 
grimly; "you seem to be a great observer, Dixon." 

" "Well, sir, one can't keep one's hears shut entirely, nor 
one's eyes, and I noticed this gentleman took a kind of 


leading part in the talk at dinner sir, yesterday. Oh, I for- 
got, sir ; Miss Kilsyth have not been well for the last two 
or three days, sir ; kep' her room, havin' caught cold re- 
turnin' from a luncheon-party np at what they call a sheal- 
ing' — kind of 'ut, sir, in the 'ills, where they put up when 
stalkin', as I make out, sir — and her maid says is uncommon 
low and bad." 

" 111, is she ?— Miss Kilsyth ? Jove, that's bad ! Haven't 
they sent for a doctor, or that kind of thing ? " 

" Yes, sir, they have sent for a doctor ; and he's been, 
sir ; leastways when I say doctor, sir, I mean to say the 
'pothecary from the village, sir. Comes on a shady kind of 
a cob, sir, and I shouldn't say knew much about it. Beg 
your pardon, sir — dinner gong ! " 

Sir Duncan Eorbes' toilette is happily complete at the 
time of this announcement, and he sallies downstairs to- 
wards the drawing-room. Entering, he finds most of the 
company already assembled ; and in the careless glance 
which he throws around as the door closes behind him, he 
recognizes a bevy of London friends, looking, with perhaps 
the addition of a little bronze in the men, and a little 
plumpness in the ladies, exactly as he left them at the con- 
cluding ball of the season two months ago. Some he has 
not seen for a longer period, his host among them. Kilsyth 
of Kilsytl , keen sportsman, whether with rod or gun ; 
landlord exercising influence over his tenants, not by his 
position alone, but by the real indubitable interest which 
he takes in their well-being ; lord-lieutenant of his county, 
first patron and best judge at its agricultural meetings, 
chairman of the bench of magistrates, prime mover in the 
herring fishery, — what does Kilsyth of Kilsyth do in Lon- 
don? Little enough, truth to tell; gives a very perfunct- 
ory attendance at the House of Commons, meets old friends 
at Brookes's, dines at a few of the earlier meetings of the 
Pox Club, and does his utmost to keep out of the way of 


the Liberal whip, who dare not offend him, and yet grieves 
most lamentably over his shortcomings at St Stephen's. 
See him now as he stands on the hearth-rug, with his back 
to the drawing-room fire, a^ hale hearty man, whose fifty 
years of life have never bent his form nor scarcely dimmed 
the fire in his bright blue eye. Life, indeed, has been 
pretty smooth and pleasant to Kilysth since, when a younger 
son, he was gazetted to the 42nd ; and after a slight sojourn 
in that distinguished regiment, was sent for by his father 
to take the place of his elder brother, killed by the bursting 
of a gun when out on a stalk. A shadow — deep enough at 
the moment, but now mercifully lightened by Time, the 
grim yet kindly consoler — had fallen across his path when 
his wife, whom he loved so well, and whom he had taken 
from her quiet English home, where, a simple parson's 
daughter, she had captivated the young Highland officer, 
had died in giving birth to a second child. But he had 
survived the shock ; and long afterwards, when he had suc- 
ceeded to the family title and estates, and was, indeed, 
himself well on the way to middle age, had married again. 
Kilsyth's second wife was the sister of a Scottish earl of 
old family and small estate, a high-bred woman, much 
younger than her husband, who had borne him two children 
(little children at the time our story opens), and who, not 
merely in her Highland neighbourhood, but in the best 
society of London, in which she was ungrudgingly received, 
was looked upon as a pattern wife. With the name of 
Lady Muriel Kilsyth the most inveterate scandalmongers 
had never ventured to make free. The mere fact of her 
being more than twenty years younger than her husband 
had given them the greatest hope of onslaught when 
the marriage was first announced ; but Lady Muriel had 
calmly faced her foes, and not the most observant of them 
had as yet espied the smallest flaw in her harness. Her 
behaviour to her husband, without being in the least degree 


gushing, was so thoroughly circumspect, they lived toge- 
ther on such excellent terms of something that was evi- 
dently more than amity, though it never pretended to de- 
votion, that the scandalmongers were utterly defeated. 
Balked in one direction, they launched out in another ■ 
they could not degrade the husband by their pity, but they 
could mildly annoy the wife with reflections on her conduct 
to her step-children. " Poor little things," they said, " with 
such an ambitious woman for step-mother, and children of 
her own to think of! Ronald may struggle on ; but as for 
poor Madeleine — ■" and uplifted eyebrows and shrugged 
shoulders completed the sentence. It is needless to say 
that Kilsyth himself heard none of these idle babblings, or 
that if he had, he would have treated them with scorn. 
" My lady " was to him the incarnation of everything that 
was right and proper, that was clever and far-seeing ; he 
trusted her implicitly in every matter ; he looked up to 
and respected her ; he suffered himself to be ruled by her, 
and she ruled him very gently and with the greatest talent 
and tact in every matter of his life save one. Lady Muriel 
was all-powerful with her husband, except when, as he 
thought, her views were in the least harsh or despotic to- 
wards his daughter Madeleine; and then he quietly but 
calmly held his own way. Madeleine was his idol, and no 
one, not even his wife, could shake him in his adoration of 
her. As he stands on the hearth-rug, there is a shadow on 
his bright cheery face, for he has had bad news of his 
darling since he came in from shooting, — has been forbidden 
to go to her room lest he should disturb her ; and at each 
opening of the door he looks anxiously in that direction, 
half wishing, half fearing Lady Muriel's advent with the 
doctor's latest verdict on the invalid. 

The thin slight wiry man talking to Kilsyth, and rat- 
tling on garrulously in spite of his friend's obvious preoc- 
cupation, is Captain Severn, perhaps the best steeple-chase 


rider in England, and untouchable at billiards by any 
amateur. He is a slangy, turfy, raffish person, hating 
ladies' society, and using a singular -vocabulary full of 
BelVs-Life idioms. He is, however, well connected, and has 
a charming wife, for whose sake he is tolerated ; a lovely 
little fairy of a woman, whose heart is as big as her body ; 
the merriest, most cheerful, best-tempered creature, trolling 
oat her little French chansons in a clear bird-like voice; 
acting in charades with infinite character and piquancy; 
and withal the idol of the poor in the neighbourhood of 
their hunting-box in Leicestershire ; and the quickest, 
softest, and most attentive nurse in sickness, as a dozen of 
her friends could testify. 

That bald head which you can just see over the top of 
the Morning Post belongs to the Duke of Northallerton, 
who has been all his life more or less engaged in politics ; 
who has, when his party has been in office, held respect- 
ively the important positions of Postmaster- General and 
Privy Seal ; and who was never so well described as by one 
of his private secretaries, who declared tersely that his 
grace was a " kind old pump." Outwardly he is a tall man 
of about fifty-five, with a high forehead, which has stood 
his friend through life, and obtained him credit for gifts 
which he never possessed, a boiled-gooseberry eye, a straight 
nose, and projecting buck-teeth. As becomes an old Eng- 
lish gentleman, he wears a very high white cravat and a 
large white waistcoat ; indeed it is only within the last few 
years that he has relinquished his blue coat and gold but- 
tons, and very tight pantaloons. He is reading the paper 
airily through his double glasses, and uttering an occa- 
sional " Ha ! " and " Dear me ! " as he wades through the 
movements of the travelling aristocracy ; but from time to 
time he removes the glasses from his nose, and looks up 
with a half-peevish glance at his neighbour, Colonel Jeffer- 
son. Charley Jefferson (no one ever called him anything 


else) has a large photograph album before him, at which he 
is not looking in the least ; on the contrary, his glance is 
directed straight in front of him ; and as he stands six feet 
four, his eyes, when he is sitting, would be about on a level 
with a short man's head ; and he is tugging at his great 
sweeping grizzled moustache, and fidgeting with his leg, 
and muttering between his clinched teeth at intervals short 
phrases, which sound like " Little brute ! break his neck ! 
beastly little cad ! " and such-like. 

The individual thus objurgated by the Colonel is highly 
thought of by Sir Bernard Burke, and known to Debrett as 
John Ulick Delatribe, Marquis of Towcester, eldest son of 
the Duke of Plymouth, who has just been gazetted to the 
Blues, after some years at Eton and eighteen months' 
wandering on the Continent. Though he is barely twenty, 
a more depraved young person is rarely to be found ; his 
tutor, the Eev. Merton Sandford, who devoted the last few 
years of his life to him, and who has retired to his well- 
earned preferment of the largest living in the duke's gift, 
lifts up his eyes and shakes his head when, over a quiet 
bottle of claret with an old college friend, he speaks of 
Lord Towcester. The boy's reputation had preceded him 
to London ; a story from the Viennese Embassy, of which 
he was the hero, came across in a private note to Blather- 
wick of the E. O., enclosed in the official white sheep-skin 
despatch-bag, and before night was discussed in half the 
smoking-rooms in Pali-Mall. The youngsters laughed at 
the anecdote and envied its hero ; but older men looked 
grave ; and Charley Jefferson, standing in the middle of a 
knot of men on the steps of the Bag, said he was deuced 
glad that the lad wasn't coming into his regiment ; for if 
that story were true, the service would be none the better 
for such an accession to it, as, if it were his business, ho 
should take an early opportunity of pointing out; and the 
listeners, who knew that Colonel Jefferson was the best 


soldier arid the strictest martinet throughout the household 
cavalry, and who marked the expression of his face as he 
pulled his moustache and strode away after delivering his 
dictum, thought that perhaps it was better for Towcester 
that his lot was cast in a different corps. Tou would not 
have thought there was much harm in the boy, though, 
from his appearance. Look at him now, as he bends over 
Lady Fairfax, until his face almost touches her soft glossy 
hair. It is a round, boyish, ingenuous face, though the eyes 
are rather deeply set, and there is something cruel about 
the mouth which the thin downy moustache utterly fails 
to hide. As Lady Fairfax turns her large dark eyes on her in- 
terlocutor, and looks up at him, her brilliant white teeth 
flashing in an irrepressible smile, the Colonel's growls be- 
come more frequent, and he tugs at his moustache more 
savagety than ever. Why ? If you know anything about 
these people, you will remember that ten years ago, when 
Emily Fairfax was Emily Ponsonby, and lived with ber old 
aunt, Lady Mary, in the dull rambling old house at Kew, 
Charley Jefferson, a penniless cornet in what were then the 
13th Light Dragoons, was quartered at Hounslow ; danced, 
rode, and flirted with her ; carried off a lock of her hair 
when the regiment was ordered to India; and far away up 
country, in utter ignorance of all that was happening in 
England, used to gaze at it and kiss it, long after Miss 
Ponsonby had married old Lord Fairfax, and had become 
the reigning belle of the London season. Old Lord Fairfax 
is dead now, and Charley Jefferson has come into his 
uncle's fortune ; and there is no cause or impediment why 
these twain should not become one flesh, save that Emily 
is still coquettish, and Charley is horribly jealous ; and so 
matters are still in the balance. 

The little old gentleman in the palpable flaxen wig and 
gold spectacles, who is poring over that case of Flaxman's 
c.uneos in genuine admiration, is Count Bulow, the Danish 


Ambassador; and the little old lady whose face is so 
wrinkled as to suggest an idea of gratitude that she is a 
lady, and consequently is not compelled to shave, is his 
wife. They are charming old people, childless themselves, 
but the cause of constant matchmaking in others. More 
flirtations come to a successful issue in the embassy at 
Eaton-place than in any other house in town ; and the old 
couple, who have for years worthily represented their 
sovereign, are sponsors to half the children in Belgravia. 
They are both art-lovers, and their house is crammed with 
good things — pictures from Munich and Diisseldorf, choice 
bits of Thorwaldsen, big elk-horns, and quaint old Scan- 
dinavian drinking- cups. Old Lady Potiphar, who has the 
worst reputation and the bitterest tongue in London, says 
you meet " odd people " at the Bulows' ; said " odd people " 
being artists and authors, English and foreign. Mr Flet- 
cher, R.A., who is just now talking to the Countess, is one 
of the most favoured guests at the embassy, but he is not 
an " odd person," even to Lady Potiphar, for he goes into 
what she calls " sassiety," and has been " actially asked to 
Mar'bro' House " — where Lady Potrphar is not invited. A 
quiet, unpretending, gentlemanly, middle-aged man, Mr 
Eletcher ; wearing his artistic honours with easy dignity, 
and by no means oblivious of the early days when he gave 
drawing-lessons at per hour to many of the nobility who 
now call him their friend. 

There are three or four young ladies present, who need 
no particular description, and who are dividing the homage 
of Captain Shaddock ; while Lord Roderick Douglas, a young 
nobleman to whom Nature has been more bountiful in nose 
than in forehead, and Mr Pitcairn, a fresh-coloured, freckled, 
blue-eyed gentleman, lithe and active as a greyhound, are 
muttering in a corner, making arrangements for the next 
day's shooting. 

The entrance of Sir Duncan Eorbes caused a slight 


commotion in the party ; and every one had a look or a word 
of welcome for the new comer, for he was a general favourite. 
He moved easily from group to group, shaking hands and 
chatting pleasantly. Kilsyth, who was specially fond of 
him, grasped his hand warmly ; the Duke laid aside the 
Horning Post in the midst of a most interesting leader, in 
which Mr Bright was depicted as a pleasant compound of 
Catiline and Judas Iscariot ; Count Bulow gave up his 
cameos; and even grim Charley Jefferson relaxed in his 
feverish supervision of Lord Towcester. 

As for the ladies, they unanimously voted Duncan charm- 
ing, quite charming, and could not make too much of him. 

"And where have you come from, Duncan?" asked 
Kilsyth, when the buzz consequent on his entrance had 

" Last, from Burnside," said Duncan. 

" Burnside ! — where's Burnside ? " asked Captain Severn 

" Burnside is on the Tay, the prettiest house in all Scot- 
land, if I may venture to say so, being at Kilsyth ; of course 
it don't pretend to anything of this kind. It's a mere doll's- 
house of a place, nothing but a shooting-box ; but in its way 
it's a perfect paradise." 

" Are you speaking by the card, Duncan? " said Count 
Bulow, with the slightest foreign accent ; " or was there 
some Peri in this paradise that gave it such fascination in 
your eyes ? " 

" Peri ! No indeed, Count," replied Duncan, laughing ; 
" Burnside is a bachelor establishment, — rigidly proper, quite 
monastic, and all that kind of thing. It belongs to old Sir Sa- 
ville Rowe,whowas a swell doctor in London — oh, ages ago! " 

" Sir Saville Rowe !." exclaimed the Duke ; " I know him 
very well. He was physician to the late King, and was 
knighted just before his Majesty's death. I haven't seen him 
for years, and thought he was dead." 


" He's anything but that, Duke. A remarkably healthy 
old man, and as jolly as possible; capital company still, 
though he's long over seventy. And his place is really 
lovely; the worst of it is, it's such a tremendous distance 
from here. I've been travelling all day ; and as it is I 
thought I was late for dinner. The gong sounded as I left 
my room." 

" Tou were late, Duncan ; you always are," said Kilsyth, 
with a smile. "But the Duchess is keeping you in counte- 
nance to-night, and Lady Muriel has not shown yet. She is 
up with Madeleine, who is ill, poor child." 

" Ah, so I was sorry to hear. "What is it ? Nothing 
serious, I hope ? " 

" No, please God, no. But she caught cold, and is a 
little feverish to-night ; the doctor is with her now, and we 
shall soon have his report. Ah, here is the Duchess." 

The Duchess of Northallerton, a tall portly woman, with a 
heavy ruminating expression of face, like a sedate cow, 
entered as he spoke, and advancing said a few gracious 
nothings to Duncan Forbes. She was closely followed by a 
servant, who, addressing his master, said that Lady Muriel 
would be engaged for a few minutes longer with the doctor, 
and had ordered dinner to be served. 

The conversation at dinner, falling into its recent channel, 
was resumed by Lord Towcester, who said, " Who had you 
at this doctor's, Duncan ? Queer sort of people, I suppose ? " 

" Some of his patients, perhaps," said Lady Fairfax, 
showing all her teeth. 

" Black draught and that sort of thing to drink, and cold 
compresses on the sideboard," said Captain Severn, who 
was nothing if not objectionable. 

" I never had better living, and never met pleasanter 
people," said Duncan Forbes pointedly. " They wouldn't 
have suited you, perhaps, Severn, for they all talked sense ; 
and none of them knew the odds on anything — though that 


might have suited you perhaps, as you'd have been able to 
wiu their money." 

" Any of Sir Saville's profession ? " cut in the Duke, 
diplomatically anxious to soften matters. 

" Only one — a Dr Wilmot ; the great man of the day, as I 

" Oh, everybody has heard of Wilmot," said half-a-dozen 

"He's the great authority on fever, and that kind of 
thing," said Jefferson. " Saved Broadwater's boy in typhus 
last year when all the rest of them had given him up." 

" Dr "Wilmot remains there," said Duncan ; " our party 
broke up yesterday, but Wilmot stays on. He and I had a 
tremendous chat last night, and I never met a more delight- 
ful fellow." 

At this moment Lady Muriel entered the room, and as 
she passed her husband's chair laid a small slip of paper on 
the table by his plate ; then went up to Duncan Eorbes, who 
had risen to receive her, and gave him a hearty welcome. 
Kilsyth took an opportunity of opening the paper, and the 
healthy colour left his cheeks as he read : 

" M. is much worse, to-night. Dr Joyce now pronounces it 
undoubted scarlet-fever :" 

The old man rose from the table, asking permission -to 
absent himself for a few moments ; and as he moved, 
whispered to Duncan, who was sitting at his right hand, 
" Tou said Dr Wilmot was still at Burnside ? " 

Receiving an answer in the affirmative, he hurried into the 
hall, wrote a few hasty lines, and gave them to the butler, 
saying, " Tell Donald to ride off at once to Acray, and tele- 
graph this message. Tell him to gallop all the way." 




Dttncain" Forbes was given to exaggeration, as is the 
fashion of the day ; but he had scarcely exaggerated the beauty 
of Burnside, even in the rapturous terms which he chose to 
employ in speaking of it. It was, indeed, a most lovely spot, 
standing on the summit of a high hill, wooded from base to 
crest, and with the silver Tay — now rushing over a hard 
pebbly bed, now softly flowing in a scarcely fathomable depth 
of still water through a deep ravine with towering rocks on 
either side — bubbling at its feet. From the higher windows 
— notably from the turret ; and it was a queer rambling tur- 
reted house, without any preponderating style of architecture, 
but embracing, and that not unpicturesquely, a great many 
■ — you looked down upon the pretty little town of Dunk eld, 
with its broad bridge spanning the flood, and the grey old 
tower of its cathedral rearing itself aloft like a hoary giant 
athwart the horizon, and the trim lawn of the ducal residence 
in the distance — an oasis of culture in a desert of wildness, 
yet harmonizing sufficiently with its surroundings. Sloping 
down the steep bank on which the house was placed, and 
overhanging the brawling river beneath, ran a broad gravel 
path, winding between the trees, which at certain points had 
had been cut away to give the best views of the neighbouring 
scenery ; and on this path, at an early hour on the morning 
succeeding the night on which Duncan Forbes had arrived 
at Kilsyth, two men were walking, engaged in earnest con- 
versation. An old man one of them, but in the enjoyment 
of a vigorous old age ; his back is bowed, and he uses a stick ; 
but if you remark, he does not use it as a crutch, lifting it 
now and again to point his remark, or striking it on the 
ground to emphasize his decision. A tall old man, with long 


white hair flowing away from under the brim of his wide- 
awake hat, with bright blue eyes and well-cut features, and 
a high forehead and wliite hands, with long, lithe, clever- 
looking fingers. Those 'eyes and fingers have done their 
work in their day, professionally and socially. Those eyes 
have looked into the eyes of youth and loveliness, and have 
read in them that in a few months their light would be 
quenched for ever ; those fingers have clasped the beating 
pulses* of seemingly full and vigorous manhood, and have 
recognized that the axe was laid at the root of the apparently 
tall and flourishing tree, and that in a little time it would 
topple headlong down. Those eyes "looked love to eyes 
that spake again ;" those hands clasped hands that returned 
their clasp, and that trembled fondly and confidingly within 
them ; that voice, professionally modulated to babble of 
sympathy, compassion, and hope, trembled with passion and 
whispered all its human aspirations into the trellised ear of 
beauty, once and once only. Looking at the old gentleman, 
so mild and gentle and benevolent, with his shirt-front 
sprinkled with snuff, and his old-fashioned black gaiters and 
his gouty shoes, you could hardly imagine that he was the 
hero of a scandal which five-and-thirty years before had rung 
through society, and given the Satirist, and other scurrilous 
publications of the time, matter for weeks and weeks of filthy 
comment. And yet it was so. Sir Saville Eowe (then Dr 
Eowe), physician to one of the principal London hospitals, 
and even then a man of mark in his profession, was called in 
to attend a young lady who represented herself as a widow, 
and with whom, after a time, he fell desperately in love. 
For months he attended her through a trying illness, from 
which, under his care, she recovered. Then, when her re- 
covery was complete, he confessed his passion, and they were 
engaged to be married. One night, within a very short time 
of the intended wedding, he called at her lodgings and found 
a man there, a coarse slangy blackguard, who, after a few 


words, abruptly proclaimed himself to be the lady's husband, 
and demanded compensation for his outraged honour. 
"Words ensued ; and more than words ; the man — half-drunk, 
all bully — struck the doctor ; and Howe, who was a powerful 
man, and who was mad with rage at what he imagined was a 
conspiracy, returned the blows with interest. The police 
were summoned, and J&owe was hauled off to the station- 
house ; but on the following day the prosecutor was not 
forthcoming, and the doctor was liberated. The scandal 
spread, and ruffians battened on it, as they ever will ; but 
Dr Eowe's courage and professional skill enabled him to 
live it down ; and when, two years after, in going round a 
hospital ward with his pupils, he came upon his old love at 
the verge of death, his heart, which he thought had been 
sufficiently steeled, gave way within him, and once more he 
set himself to the task of curing her. T He did all that could 
be clone ; had her removed to a quiet suburban cottage, 
tended by the most experienced nurses, never grudged one 
moment of his time to visit her constantly ; but it was too 
late : hard living and brutal treatment had done their work ; 
and Dr Eowe's only love died in his arms, imploring Heaven's 
blessings on him. That wound in his life, deep as it was, 
has long since oicafrized and healed over, leaving a scar 
which was noticeable to very few long before he attained to 
the first rank in his profession and l'eceived the titular re- 
ward of his services to royalty. He has for some time retired 
from, active practice, though he will still meet in consultation 
some old pupil or former colleague ; but he takes life easily 
now, passing the season in London, the autumn in Scotland, 
and the winter at Torquay ; in all of which places he finds 
old friends chattable and kindly, who help him to while away 
the pleasant autumn of his life. 

The other man is about eight-and-thirty, with keen bright 
brown eyes, a broad brow, straight nose, thin lips, and heavy 
jaw, indicative of firmness, not to say obstinacy ; a tall man 


with stooping shoulders, and a look of quiet, placid attention 
in his face ; with a slim figure, a jerky walk, and a habit of 
clasping his hands behind his back, and leaning forward as 
though listening ; a man likely to invite notice at first sight 
from his unmistakable earnestness and intellect, otherwise a 
quiet gentlemanly man, whose profession it was impossible to 
assign, yet who was obviously a man of mark in his way 
This was Chudleigh "Wilmot, who was looked upon by those 
who ought to know as the coming man in the London medical 
profession ; whose lectures were to be attended before those 
of any other professor at St Vitus's Hospital ; whose contri- 
butions on fever cases to the Scalpel had given the Times 
Bubject-matter for a leader, in which he had been most 
honourably mentioned ; and who was commencing to reap 
the harvest of honour and profit which accrues to the fortun- 
ate few. He is an old pupil of Sir Saville Eowe's, and 
there is no one in whose company the old gentleman has 
greater delight. 

" Smoke, Chudleigh, smoke ! Light up at once. I know 
you're dying to have your cigar, and daren't out of deference 
to me. Fancy I'm your master still, don't you ?" 

<; ISTot a bit of it, old friend. I have given up after- 
breakfast smoking as a rule, because, you see, that delightful 
bell in Charles-street begins to ring about a quarter to ten, 

" So much the better. Let them ring. They were 
knockers in my day, and I recollect how delighted I used to 
be at every rap. But there's no one to ring or knock here ; 
so you may take your cigar quietly. I've been longing for 
this time ; longing to have what the people about here call a 
1 crack ' with you — impossible while those other men were 
here ; but now I've got you all to myself." 

" Yes," said TTilmot, who by this time had lighted his 

cigar — "yes, and you'll have me all to yourself for the next 

four days : that is to say, if you will." 



" If I will ! Is there anything in the world could give 
me greater pleasure ? I get young again, talking to you, 
Chudleigh. I mind me of the time when you used to come 
to lecture, a great raw boy, with, I should say, the dirtiest 
hands and the biggest note-book in the whole hospital." 
And the old gentleman chuckled at his reminiscence. 

" "Well, I've managed to wash the first, and to profit by 
the manner in which I filled the second from your lectures," 
said Wilmot, not without a blush. 

" Not a bit, not a bit," interposed Sir Saville ; " you 
would have done well enough without any lectures of mine, 
though I'm glad to think that in that celebrated question of 
anaesthetics you stuck by me, and enabled me triumphantly 
to defeat Macpherson of Edinburgh. That was a great 
triumph for us, that was ! Dear me, when I think of the 
charlatans ! Eh, well, never mind ; I'm out of all that now. 
So you have a few days more, you were saying, and you're 
going to give them up to me." 

"Nothing will please me so much. Because, you see, I 
shall make it a combination of pleasure and business. There 
are several things on which I want to consult you, — points 
which I have reserved from time to time, and on which I 
can get no such opinion as yours. I'm not due in town 
until the 3rd of next month. Whittaker, who has taken my 
practice, doesn't leave until the 5th, which is a Sunday, and 
even then only goes as far as Gruildford, to a place he's 
taken for some pheasant-shooting ; a nice, close, handy place, 
where Mrs Whittaker can accompany him. She thinks he's 
so fascinating, that she does not like to let him out of her 

" Whittaker ! Whittaker ! " said Sir Saville ; " is it a bald 
man with a cock-eye ? — used to be at Bartholomew's." 

"That's the man! He's in first-rate practice now, and 
deservedly, for he's thoroughly clever and reliable ; but his 
beauty has not improved by time. However, Mrs Whittaker 


doesn't see that ; and it's with the greatest difficulty he ever 
gets permission to attend a lady's case." 

" You must be thankful Mrs Wilmot isn't like that." 

" Oh, I am indeed," replied "Wilmot shortly. 

" By the way, I've never had an opportunity of talking 
to you about your marriage, and about your wife, Chudleigh. 
I got your wedding cards, of course : but that's — ah, that 
must be three years ago." 

" Pour." 

" Four ! Is it indeed so long ? Tut, tut ! how time 
flies ! I've called at your house in London, but your wifo 
has not been at home ; and as I don't entertain ladies, you 
see, of course I've missed an opportunity of cultivating her 

" Ye-es. I've heard Mrs "Wilmot say that she had seen 
your cards, and that she was very sorry to have been out 
when you called," said Dr Wilmot with, in him, a most 
unnatural hesitation. 

"Yes, of course," said old Sir Saville, with a comical 
look out of the corners of his eyes, which fell unheeded on 
his companion. " Well, now, as I've never seen her, and as 
I'm not likely to see her now, — for I'm an old man, and I've 
given up ceremony visits at my time of life, — tell me about 
your wife, Chudleigh ; you know the interest I take in you ; 
and that, perhaps, may excuse my asking about her. Does 
she suit you ? Are you happy with her ? " 

Wilmot looked hard for an instant at his friend with a 
sudden quick glance of suspicion, then relaxed his brows, 
and laughed outright. 

" Certainly, my dear Sir Saville, you are the most original 

of men. Who on earth else would have dreamt of asking a 

man such a home-question ? It's worse than the queries put 

in the proposal papers of insurance-offices. However, I'm 

glad to be able to give a satisfactory answer. I am happy 

with my wife, and she does suit me." 



" Yes ; but what I mean is, are you in love with her ? " 

"Aral what?" 

" In love with her. I mean, are you always thinking of 
her when you are away from her ? Are you always longing 
to get back to her ? Does her face come between you and 
the book you are reading ? "When you are thinking-out an 
intricate case, and puzzling your brains as to how you shall 
deal with it, do you sometimes let the whole subject slip 
out of your mind, to ponder over the last words she said to 
you, the last look she gave you ? " 

" God bless your soul, my dear old friend ! Tou might 
as well ask me if I didn't play leap-frog with the house- 
surgeon of St Vitus's, or challenge any member of the 
College of Physicians to a single-wicket match. Those are 
the delassements of youth, my dear sir, that you are talking 
about ; of very much youth indeed." 

" I know one who wasn't ' very much youth ' when he 
carried out the doctrine religiously," said the old gentleman 
in reply. 

"Ah, then perhaps the lady wasn't his wife," said Wilmot, 
without the smallest notion of the dangerous ground on 
which he was treading. " No, the fact is simply this : I am, 
as you know, a man absorbed in my profession. I have no 
leisure for nonsense of the kind you describe, nor for any 
other kind of nonsense. My wife recognizes that perfectly ; 
she does all the calling and visiting which society prescribes. 
I go to a few old friends' to dinner in the season, and some- 
times show up for a few minutes at the house of a patient 
where Mrs Wilmot thinks it necessary for me to be seen. 
We each fulfil our duties perfectly, and we are in the evening 
excellent friends." 

" Ye-es," said Sir Saville doubtfully ; " that's all delight- 
ful, and — " 

"As to longing to get back to her, and face coming 
between you and your book, and always thinking, and that 


kind" of thing," pursued Wilmot, not heeding him, " I recol- 
lect, when I was a dresser at the hospital, long before I passed 
the College, I had all those feelings for a little cousin of mine 
who was then living at Knightsbridge with her father, who 
was a clerk in the Bank of England. But then he died, and 
she married — not the barber, but another clerk in the Bank 
of England, and I never thought any more about it. Believe 
me, my dear friend, except to such perpetual evergreens as 
yourself, those ideas die off at twenty years of age." 

"Well, perhaps so, perhaps so," said the old gentleman; 
" and I daresay it's quite right, only — well, never mind. 
Well, Chudleigh, it's a pleasant thing for me, remembering 
you, as I said, a great hulking lad when you first came to 
lecture, to see you now carrying away everything before you. 
I don't know that you're quite wise in giving Whittaker 
your practice, for he's a deep designing dog ; and you can 
tell as well as I do how a word dropped deftly here and 
there may steal away a patient before the doctor knows 
where he is, especially witb old ladies -and creatures of that 
sort. But, however, it's the slack time of year, — that's one 
thing to be said, — when everybody that's anybody is safe to 
be out of town. Ah, by the way, that reminds me ! I was 
glad to see by the Morning Post that you had had some very 
good cases last season." 

" The Morning Post ! — some very good cases ! What do 
you mean? " 

" I mean, I saw your name as attending several of the 
nobility : ' His lordship's physician, Dr Wilmot, of Charles 
Street,' et cetera ; that kind of thing, you know." 

" Oh, do you congratulate me on those ? I certainly pulled 
young Lord Coniston, Lord Broadwater's son, through a 
stiff attack of typhus ; but as I would have done the same 
for his lordship's porter's child, I don't see the value of the 
paragraph. By the way, I shoiildn't wonder if I were 
indebted to the porter for the paragraph." 


" .Never mind, my dear Chudleigh, whence the paragraph 
comes, but be thankful you got it. ' Sweet,' as Shakespeare 
says, — ' sweet are the uses of advertisement ; ' and our pro- 
fession is almost the only one to which they are not open. 
The inferior members of it, to be sure, do a little in the way 
of the red lamp and the vaccination gratis ; but when you 
arrive at any eminence you must not attempt anything more 
glaring than galloping about town in your carriage, and getting 
your name announced in the best society." 

" The best society ! " echoed Wilmot with an undisguised 
sneer. " My dear Sir Saville, you seem to have taken a craze 
for Youth, Beauty, and High Life, and to exalt them as gods 
for your idolatry." 

" For my idolatry ! No, my boy, for yours. I don't 
deny that when I was in the ring, I did my best to gain the 
approbation of all three, and that I succeeded I may say with- 
out vanity. But I'm out of it now, and I can only give 
counsel to my juniors. But that my counsel is good worldly 
wisdom, Chudleigh, you may take the word of an old man 
who has — well, who has, he flatters himself, made his mark 
in life." 

The old gentleman was so evidently sincere in this expo- 
sition of his philosophy, that Wilmot repressed the smile 
that was rising to his lips, and said : 

" We can all of us only judge by our own feelings, old 
friend ; and mine, I must own, don't chime iri with yours. 
As to Touth — well, I'm now old for my age, and I only look 
upon it as developing more available resources and more 
available material to work upon ; as to Beauty, its influence 
died out with me when Maria Strutt married the clerk in 
the Bank of England ; and as to High Life, I swear to you 
it would give me as much pleasure to save the life of one of 
your gillies' daughters, as it would to be able to patch up an 
old marquis, or to pull the heir to a dukedom through 
his teething convulsions." 


The old man looked at his friend for a moment and 
Bmiled sardonically, then said : 

" You're young yet, Chudleigh ; very young— much 
younger than your years of London life should permit you 
to he. However, that's a malady that Time will cure you of. 
Saving lives of gillies' daughters is all very well in the 
abstract, and no one can value more than I do the power 
which Providence, under Him, has given to us ; but — "Well, 
what is it ? " 

This last remark was addressed to a servant who was 
approaching them. 

" A telegram, sir, for Dr Wilmot,". said the man, handing 
an envelope to Wilmot as he spoke : "just arrived from the 

"Wilmot tore open the envelope and read its enclosure — 
read it twice with frowning brow and sneering mouth ; then 
handed it to his host, saying : 

" A little too strong, that, eh ? Is one never to be free 
from such intrusions ? Do these people imagine that because 
I am a professional man I am to be always at their beck and 
call ? Who is this Mr Kilsyth, I wonder, who hails me as 
though I were a cabman on the rank ? " 

" Mr Kilsyth, my dear fellow!" said Sir Saville, laugh- 
ing ; " I should like to see the face of any Highlander who 
heard you say that. Kilsyth of Kilsyth is the head of one 
of the oldest and most powerful clans in Aberdeenshire." 

" I suppose he won't he powerful enough to have me shot, 
or speared, or ' hangit on a tree,' for putting his telegram 
into my pocket, and taking no further notice of it, for all 
that," said Wilmot. 

" Do you mean to say that you intend to refuse his 
request, Chudleigh ? " 

" Most positively and decidedly, if request you call it. I 
confess it looks to me more like a command ; and that's a 
style of thing I dom't particularly affect, old friend." 


" But do you see the facts ? Miss Kilsyth is down, with 
scarlet-fever — •" 

" Exactly. I'm very sorry, I'm sure, so far as one can 
be sorry for any one of whose existence one was a moment 
ago in ignorance ; and I trust Miss Kilsyth will speedily 
recover ; but it won't be through any aid of mine." 

" My dear Chudleigh," said the old man gently, " you 
are all wrong about this. It's not a pleasant thing for me. 
as your host, to bid you go away ; more especially as I had 
been looking forward with such pleasure to these few days' 
quiet with you. But I know it is the right thing for you to 
do ; and why you should refuse, I cannot conceive. Tou 
seem to have taken umbrage at the style of the message ; but 
even if one could be polite in a telegram, a father whose pet 
daughter is dangerously ill seldom stops to pick his words." 

" But suppose I hadn't been here ? " 

"My dear friend, 1 decline to suppose anything of the sort. 
Suppose I had not been in the way when Sir Astley advised 
his late Majesty to call me in ; I should still have been a 
successful man, it's true; but I should not have had the 
honour or the position I have, nor the wealth which enables 
me now to enjoy my ease, instead of slaving away still like — • 
like some whom we know. In o, no ; drop your radicalism, I 
beseech you. Tou would go miles to attend a sick gillie or 
a shepherd's orphan. Do the same for a very charming young 
girl, as I'm told, — Forbes knows her very well, — and for one 
of the best men in Scotland." 

" Well, I suppose you're right, and I must go. It's an 
awful journey, isn't it ? " 

" Horses to the break, Donald ; and tell George to get 
ready to drive Dr Wilmot. — I'll send you the first stage. 
Awful journey you call it, through the loveliest scenery in 
the Highlands ! I don't know what causes the notion, but 
I have an impression that this will be a memorable day in 
your career, Chudleigh," 


" Have you, old friend ? " said "Wilmot, with a shoulder- 
shrug. " One doesn't know how it may end, but, so far, it 
has been anything but a pleasant one. Nor does a fifty-mile 
journey over hills inspire me with much pleasant anticipation. 
But, as you seem so determined about it being my duty, I'll 

" Depend on it, I am giving you good advice, as some day 
you shall acknowledge to me." 

And within half-an-hour Chudleigh Wilmot had started 
for Kilsyth, on a journey which was to influence the whole 
of his future life. 



The news which she had learned from Doctor Joyce, 
and had in her brief pencil-note communicated to her hus- 
band, was horribly annoying to Lady Muriel Kilsyth. To 
have her party broken up — and there was no doubt that, as 
soon as the actual condition of affairs was known, many 
would at once take to flight — was bad enough ; but to have 
an infectious disorder in the house, and to be necessarily 
compelled to keep up a semblance of sympathy with the 
patient labouring under that disorder, even if she were not 
required to visit and tend her, was to Lady Muriel specially 
galling ; more specially galling as she happened not to 
possess the smallest affection for the individual in question, 
indeed to regard her rather with dislike than otherwise. 
When Lady Muriel Inchgarvie married Kilsyth of Kilsyth, 
— the Inchgarvie estates being heavily involved, and her 
brother the Earl, who had recently succeeded to the title, 
strongly counselling the match, — she agreed to love, 


honour, and obey the doughty chieftain whom she espoused ; 
but she by no means undertook any responsibilities with 
regard to the two children by his former marriage. The 
elder of these, Uonald, was just leaving Eton when his step- 
mother appeared upon the scene ; and as he had since been 
at once gazetted to the Life-guards, and but rarely showed 
in his father's house, he had caused Lady Muriel very 
little anxiety. But it was a very different affair with 
Madeleine. She had the disadvantage of being perpetually 
en evidence ; of being very pretty ; of causing blundering 
new acqaintances to say, " Impossible, Lady Muriel, that 
this can be your daughter ! " of riling her step-mother in 
every possible way — notably by her perfect high-breeding, 
her calm, quiet ignoring of intended slights, her deter- 
minate persistence in keeping up the proper relations with 
her father, and her invariable politeness — nothing but 
politeness — to her step-mother. One is necessarily cauti- 
ous of using strong terms in these days of persistent 
repression of all emotions ; but it is scarcely too much to 
say that Lady Muriel hated her step-daughter very cor- 
dially. They were too nearly of an age for the girl to look 
up to the matron, or for the matron to feel a maternal 
interest in the girl. They were too nearly of an age for 
the elder not to feel jealous of the younger — of her per- 
sonal attractions, and of the influence which she undoubt- 
edly exercised over her father. 

Not that Lady Muriel either laid herself out for 
attraction, or was so devotedly attached to her husband as 
to desire the monopoly of his affection. By nature she was 
hard, cold, self-contained, and very proud. Portionless as 
she had been, and desirable as it was that she should 
marry a rich man, she had refused several offers from men- 
more coeval with her than the husband she at last accepted, 
simply because they were made by men who were wealthy, 
and nothing else. Either birth or talent would, in con- 


junction with wealth, have won her; but Mr Burton, the 
'great pale-ale brewer, and Sir Coke Only, the great railway 
carrier, proffered their suits in vain, and retired in the 
deepest confusion after Lady Muriel's very ladylike, but 
thoroughly unmistakable, rejection of their offers. She 
married Kilsyth because he was a man of ancient family, 
large income, warm heart, and good repute. At no period, 
either immediately before or after her marriage, had she 
professed herself to be what is called " in love " with the 
worthy Scotch gentleman. She respected, humoured, and 
ruled him. But not for one instant did she forget her 
duty, or give a chance for scandal-mongers to babble of her 
name over their five-o'clock tea. No woman married to 
a man considerably her senior need be at any loss for what, 
as Byron tells us, used to be called a cicisbeo, and was in 
his time called a cortejo, if she be the least attractive. 
And Lady Muriel Kilsyth was considerably more than 
that. She had a perfectly-formed, classical little head, 
round which her dark hair was always tightly bound, cul- 
minating in a thick knot behind, large, deep, liquid brown 
eyes, an impertinent retrousse nose, a pretty mouth, an 
excellent complexion, and a ripe melting figure. Tou 
might have searched the drawing-rooms of London through 
and through without finding a woman better calculated to 
fascinate everybody save the youngest boys, and there were 
many even of them who would gladly have boasted of a 
kind look or word from Lady Muriel. When her marriage 
was announced, they discussed it at the clubs, as they will 
discuss such things, the dear genial old prosers, the bibulous 
captains, the lip-smacking Bardolphs of St James's-street ; 
and they prophesied all kinds of unhappiness and woe to 
Kilsyth. But that topic of conversation had long since 
died out for want of fuel to feed it. Lady Muriel had 
visited London during the season ; had gone everywhere ; 
had been reported as perfectly adoring her two little 



children ; and had no man's name invidiously coupled with 
hers. Peace reigned at Kilsyth, and the intimates of the 
house vied with each other in attention and courtesy to its 
new mistress ; while the gossips of the outside world had 
never a word to say against her. 

I don't say that Lady Muriel Kilsyth was thoroughly 
happy, any more than that Kilsyth himself was in that 
beatific state ; because I simply don't believe that such a 
state of things is compatible with the ordinary conditions 
of human life. It is not because the old stories of our 
none of us being better than we should be, of our all having 
some skeleton in our cupboards, and some ulcerated sores 
beneath our flannel waistcoats, have been so much harped 
upon, that I am going to throw my little pebble on the 
great cairn, and add my testimony to the doctrine of vanitas 
vanitatum. It would be very strange indeed, if, as life is 
now-a-days constituted, we had not our skeleton, and a time 
when we could confront him ; when we could calmly un- 
twist the button on the door and let him out, and pat his 
skull, and look at his articulated ribs and notice how deftly 
his wire-hooked thigh-bones jointed on to the rest of his 
carcass ; and see whether there were no means of ridding 
ourselves of him,— say by flinging him out of window, when 
the police would find him, or of stowing him away in the 
dust-bin, when he would be noticed by the contractor ; and 
of finally putting him back, and acknowledging ourselves 
compelled to suffer him even unto the end. I do not say 
that in the broad-shouldered, kind-hearted, jovial sports- 
man Lady Muriel had found exactly what she dreamed 
upon when, in the terraced garden at Inchgarvie, she used 
to read "Walter Scott, and, looking over the flashing stream 
that wound through her father's domain, fancy herself the 
Lady of the Lake, and await the arrival of Fitzjames. I 
do not say that Kilsyth himself might not, in the few 
moments of his daily life which he ever spared to reflection, 


and which were generally when he was shaving himself in 
the morning, — I do not say that Kilsyth himself might not 
have occasionally thought that his elegant and stately wife 
might have been a little kinder to Madeleine, a little more 
recognisant of the girl's charms, a little more thoughtful of 
her wants, and a little more tender towards her girlish 
vagaries. But neither of them, however they may have 
thought the other suspected them, ever spoke of their 
secret thoughts ; and to the outer world there was no more 
well-assorted couple than the Kilsyths. 

It was a great thing for the comfort of the entire party 
that Lady Muriel was a woman of nerve, and that Kilsyth 
took his cue from her, backed up by the fact that it was 
his darling Madeleine who was ill, and that any inconve- 
nience that might accrue to any of the party in consequence 
of her illness would be set down to her account. Lady 
Muriel gave a good general answer, delivered with a glance 
round the table, and was inclusive of everybody, so as to 
prevent any further questioning. Dr Joyce had said that 
Madeleine was not so well that night ; but that was to be 
expected ; her cold was very bad, she was slightly feverish : 
any one — and Lady Muriel turned deftly to the Duchess of 
Northallerton — who knew anything, would have expected 
that, would they not ? The Duchess, who knew nothing, 
but who didn't like to say so, declared that of course they 
would ; and then Lady Muriel, feeling it necessary that 
conversation should be balked, turned to Sir Duncan 
Forbes, and began to ask him questions as to his doings 
since the end of the season. Forbes replied briskly, — there 
was no better man in London to follow a lead, whether 
in talk or at cards, — and so turned the talk that most of 
those present were immediately interested. The names 
which Duncan Forbes mentioned were known to all pre- 
sent ; all were interested in their movements ; all had some- 
thing to say about them ; so that the conversation speedily 


became general, and so remained until the ladies quitted 
the table. When they had retired, Kilsyth ordered in the 
tumblers ; and it was nearly eleven o'clock before the gen- 
tlemen appeared in the drawing-room. Then Lady Fair- 
fax, with one single wave of her fan, beckoned Charley 
Jefferson into an empty seat on the ottoman by her side, — 
a seat which little Lord Towcester, immediately on entering 
the door, had surveyed with vinous eyes, — and, while one 
of the anonymous young ladies was playing endless varia- 
tions on the " Harmonious Blacksmith," commenced and 
continued a most vivid one-sided conversation, to all of 
which the infatuated Colonel only replied by shrugs of his 
shoulders and tugs at his heavy moustache. Then the 
Duchess pursued the Duke into a corner; and rescuing 
from him the Morning Post, which his grace had pounced 
upon on entering the room with the hope of further iden- 
tifying Mr Bright with Judas Iscariot, began addressing 
him in a low monotone, like the moaning of the sea ; now 
rising into a little hum, now falling into a long sweeping 
hiss, but in each variety evidently confounding the Duke, 
who pulled at his cravat and rubbed his right ear in the 
height of nervous dubiety In the behaviour of the other 
guests there was nothing pronounced, save occasional and 
unwonted restlessness. The Danish Minister and his wife 
played their usual game at backgammon ; and the customary 
talk, music, and flirtation were carried on by the remainder of 
the company ; but Lady Muriel knew that some suspicion 
of the actual truth had leaked out, and determined on her 
plan of action. 

So that night, when the men had gone to the smoking- 
room, and the ladies were some of them talking in each 
other's bed-rooms, and others digesting and thinking over, as 
is the feminine manner, under the influence of hair-brush, 
the events of the day ; when Kilsyth had made a tip-toe visit 
to his darling's chamber, and had shaken his head sadly over 


a whispered statement from her little German maid that she 
was " lien malade" and had returned to his room and dismissed 
his man, and was kicking nervously at the logs on the hearth, 
and mixing his tumbler preparatory to taking his narcotic 
instalment of Blackwood, — he heard a tap at his door, and 
Lady Muriel, in a most becoming dressing-gown of rose- 
coloured flannel, entered the room. The tumbler was put 
down, the Blackwood was thrown aside, and in a minute 
Kilsyth had wheeled an easy-chair round to the hearth, and 
handed his wife to it. 

" You're tired, Alick, I know, and I wouldn't have dis- 
turbed you now had there not been sufficient reason — " 

" Madeleine's not worse, Muriel ? I was there this 
minute, and Gretchen said that—" 

" O no, she's no worse ! I was in her room too just 
now, — though I think it is a little absurd my going, — and 
there does not seem to be much change in her since I saw 
her, just before dinner. She is asleep just now." 

" Thank God for that ! " said Kilsyth heartily. " After 
all, it may be a fright this doctor is giving us. I don't think 
so very much of his opinion, and — " 

" T could not say that. Joyce is very highly thought of 
at Glasgow, and was selected from among all the competitors 
to take charge of this district, and that, in these days of 
competition, is no ordinary distinction. And it is on this 
very point I came to speak to you. Tou got my pencil-note 
at dinner ? Very well. Just now you contented yourself 
with asking a question of Gretchen — " 

" She said Madeleine was asleep, and would not let me 
into the room." 

" And quite rightly ; but I went in to the bed-side. 
Madeleine is asleep certainly ; but her sleep is restless, 
broken, and decidedly feverish. There is not the smallest 
doubt that Dr Joyce is right in his opinion, and that she is 
attacked with scarlet-fever." 


" You think so, Muriel ? " said Kilsyth anxiously. " I 
mean not blindly following Joyce's opinion ; but do you 
think so yourself ? " 

" I do ; and not I alone, but half the house thinks so too. 
How do they know it ? Heaven knows how these things 
ever get known, but they get wind somehow ; and you will 
see that by to-morrow there will be a general flight. It is 
on this point that I have come to speak to you, if you will 
give me five minutes." 

" Of course, Muriel ; of course, my lady. But I think 
I've done the best that could be done ; at all events, the 
first thing that occurred to me after you wrote me that note. 
Duncan Forbes had been saying in the drawing-room before 
dinner, before you came in, that the great London fever- 
physician, Dr "VVilmot, was staying at Burnside, away from 
here about fifty miles, with old Sir Saville Bowe, whom I 
recollecb when I was a boy. Duncan had left him this 
morning, and he was going to stay at Burnside just a day or 
two longer ; and I sent one of the men with a telegram to 
the station, to ask Dr Wilmot to come over at once, and see 

Lady Muriel was so astonished at this evidence of prompt 
action on her husband's part that she remained silent for a 
minute. Then she said, 

" That was quite right, quite right so far as Madeleine 
was concerned ; but my visit related rather to other people. 
Tou see, so soon as it is actually known that there is an in- 
fectious disorder in the house, the house will be deserted. 
jSTow my question is this : will it not be better to announce 
it to our guests, making the best and the lightest of it, as of 
course one naturally would, rather than let them — " 

" Ye-es, I see what you mean, my lady," said Kilsyth 
slowly ; " and of course it would not do to keep people here 
under false pretences, and when Ave knew there was actual 
danger. Still I think as this story of scarlet-fever is only 


Joyce's opinion, and as I have telegraphed for Dr Wilmot, 
who will be here to-morrow ; and as it seems strange, you 
know, to think that poor darling Maddy should be the 
cause of any one's leaving Kilsyth, perhaps, eh ? one might 
put off making the announcement until Joyce's opinion 
were corroborated by Dr Wilmot." 

" I am afraid the mischief is already done, Alick, and 
that its results will be apparent long before Dr Wilmot 
can reach here," said Lady Muriel. " However, let us sleep 
upon it. I am sure to hear whether the news has spread 
in the house long before breakfast, and we can consult 
again." And Lady Muriel took leave of her husband, and 
retired to her room. 

Trust a woman for observation. Lady Muriel was per- 
fectly right. The nods and shoulder-shrugs and whisper- 
ings which she had observed in the drawing-room had al- 
ready borne fruit. On her return to her own room she 
saw a little note lying on her table — a little note which, as 
she learned from Pinner, her attendant, had just been 
brought by Lady Fairfax's maid. It ran thus : 

" Dearest Lady Muriel, — A frightful attack of neu- 
ralgia {niy neuralgia) — which, as you know, is so awful — has 
been hanging over me for the last three days, and now has 
come upon me in its fullest force. I am quite out of my 
mind with it. I have striven — oh, how I have striven ! — to 
keep up and try to forget it, when surrounded by your 
pleasant circle, and when looking at your dear self. But it 
is all in vain. I am in agonies. The torture of the rack 
itself can be nothing to what I am suffering to-night. 

" Poor dear Sir Benjamin Brodie used to say that I 
should never be well in a northern climate. I fear he was 
right. I fear that the air of this darling Kilsyth, earthly 
Paradise though it is — and I am sure that I have found it 
so during three weeks of bliss; oh, such happiness.' — is 


too bracing, too invigorating for poor me. But I should 
loathe myself if I were to make this an open confession. So 
I will steal away, dearest Lady Muriel, without making 
any formal adieux. When all your dear friends assemble 
at breakfast to-morrow, I shall be on my sorrowing way 
south, and only regret that my wretched health prevents me 
longer remaining where I have been so entirely happy. 

" With kindest regards to your dear husband, I am, 
dearest Lady Muriel, ever your loving 

"Emily Fairfax. 

" P.S. — I have told my maid to beg some of your people 
to get me horses from the Kilsyth Arms ; so that I shall 
speed away early in the morning without disturbing any 
one. I hope dear Madeleine will soon be quite herself 

Lady Muriel read this letter through twice with great 
calmness, though a very scornful smile curled her lip 
during its perusal. She then twisted the note up into a 
whisp, and was -about to burn it in the flame of the candle, 
when she heard a short solemn tap at her chamber-door. 
She turned round, bade Pinner open the door, and looked 
with more displeasure than astonishment at the Duchess of 
Northallerton, who appeared in the entrance. The Duchess 
had the credit in society of being a "haughty-looking 
woman." Her stronghold in life, beyond the fact of her 
being a duchess, had been in her Roman nose and arched 
eyebrows. But, somehow, haughty looks became wonder- 
fully modified in deshabille, and Roman noses and arched 
eyebrows lose a good deal of their potency when taken in 
conjunction with two tight little curls twisted up in hair- 
pins, and a headdress which, however much fluted and gauf- 
fered, is unmistakably a nightcap. The Duchess's noctur- 
nal adornments were unmistakably of this homely character, 
and her white wraDDer was of a hue, which, if she had not 


been a duchess, would have been pronounced dingy. But 
her step was undoubtedly tragic, and the expression of her 
face solemn to a degree. Lady Muriel received her with 
uplifted eyebrows, and motioned her to a chair. The Duch- 
ess dropped stiffly into the appointed haven of rest ; but 
arched her eyebrows at Pinner with great significance. 

"You can go, Pinner. I shall not require you any 
more," said Lady Muriel; adding, "I presume that was what 
you wished, Duchess ? " as the maid left the room. 

" Precisely, dear Muriel ; but you always were so won- 
derfully ready to interpret one's thoughts. I remember 
your dear mother used to say — but I won't worry you with 
my stories. I came to speak to you about dear Madeleine." 

" Te-es," said Lady Muriel quietly, finding the Duchess 

" Well, now, she's worse than any of them suspect. Ah, 
I can see it by your face. And I know what is the matter 
with her. Don't start ; I won't even ask you ; I won't let 
you commit yourself in any way; but I know that it's 

Lady Muriel kept her countenance admirably while the 

Duchess proceeded. "I know it by a sort of instinct. 

When Madeleine first complained of her head, I looked 

narrowly at her, and I said to myself, ' Measles ! undoubtedly 

measles ! ' Now, you know, Muriel, though there is nothing 

dangerous in measles to a young person like Madeleine, — 

and she will shake them off easily, and be all the better 

afterwards, — they are very dangerous when taken by a person 

of mature age. And the fact is, the Duke has never had 

them — never. When Errington was laid up with them, I 

recollect the Duke wouldn't remain in the house, but went 

off to the Star and Garter, and stayed there until all trace 

of the infection was gone. And he's horribly afraid of them. 

You know what cowards men are in such matters ; arid he 

said just now he thought there was a rash on his neck. 

d 2 


Such nonsense ! Only where his collar had rubbed him, as 
I told him. But he's dreadfully frightened ; and be has 
suggested that instead of waiting till the end of the week, as 
we had intended, we had better go to-morrow." 

" I think that perhaps under all circumstances it would 
be the best course," said Lady Muriel, quite calmly. 

" I knew your good sense would see it in the right light, 
my dear Muriel," said the Duchess, who had been nervously 
anticipating quite a different answer, and who was overjoyed. 
" I was perfectly certain of your coincidence in our plan. 
Now, of course, we shall not say a word as to the real reason of 
our departure — the Duke, I know, would not have that for 
the world. We shall not mention it at Badlands either; 
merely say we — Oh, I shall find some good excuse, for Mrs 
Murgatroyd is a chattering little woman, as you know, Muriel. 
And now I won't keep you up any longer, dear. You'll kindly 
tell some one to get us horses to be ready by- — say twelve to- 
morrow. Stay to luncheon ? No, dear. I think we had 
better go before luncheon. The Duke, you see, is absurd 
about his ridiculous rash. CrcW-night, dear." And the 
Duchess stalked off to tell the Duke, who was not the least 
frightened, and whose rash was entirely fictitious, how well 
she had sped on her mission. 

Lady Muriel accurately obeyed the requests made to her 
in Lady Fairfax's letter, and verbally by the Duchess ; and 
each of them found their horses ready at the appointed time. 
Lady Emily departed mysteriously before breakfast ; but as 
the Duchess's horses were not ordered till twelve, and as the 
post came in at eleven, her grace had time to receive a letter 
from Mrs Murgatroyd, of Redlands, whither they were next 
bound, reqiiesting them to postpone their arrival for a day or 
two, as a German prince, who had by accident shot a stag, 
had been so elated by the feat, that he had implored to be 
allowed to stay on, with the chance of repeating it ; and as 


he occupied the rooms intended for the Duke and Duchess, 
it was impossible to receive them until he left. After read- 
ing this letter, the Duchess went to Lady Muriel, and ex- 
pressed her opinion that she had been too precipitate ; that, 
after all, nothing positive had been pronounced ; that there) 
were no symptoms of the Duke's rash that morning, which 
had been undoubtedly caused, as she had said last night, by 
his collar, and which was no rash at all ; and that perhaps, 
after all, their real duty was to stay aud help their dear 
Muriel to nurse her dear invalid. But they had miscal- 
culated the possibility of deceiving their dear Muriel. Lady 
Muriel at once replied that it was impossible that they could 
remain at Kilsyth ; that immediately on the Duchess's quit- 
ting her on the previous night she had made arrangements 
as to the future disposition of the rooms which they occupied ; 
that she would not for the world take upon herself the 
responsibility which would . necessarily accrue to her if any 
of them caught the disease ; and that she knew the Duchess's 
own feelings would tell her that she, Lady Muriel, however 
ungracious it might seem, was in the right in advising their 
immediate departure. The Duchess tried to argue the point, 
but in vain ; and so she and the Duke, and their servants 
and baggage, departed, and passed the next three days at a 
third-rate roadside inn between Kilsyth and Kedlands, where 
the Duke got lumbago, and the Duchess got bored ; aud 
where they passed their time alternately wishing that they 
had not left Kilsyth, or that the people at Redlands were 
ready to receive them. 

Very little difference was made by the other guests at 
Kilsyth in the disposition of their day. If they were sur- 
prised at the sudden defection of the Northallertons and 
Lady Fairfax, they were too well-bred to show it. Charley 
Jefferson mooned about the house and grounds, a thought 
more disconsolate than ever ; but he was the only member 
of the party who at all bemoaned the departure of the de- 


parted. Lady Dunkeld congratulated her cousin Muriel on 
being rid of " those awful wet blankets," the Northallertons. 
Captain Severn, in whispered colloquy with his wife, " hoped 
to heaven Charley Jefferson would see what a stuck-up 
selfish brute that Emily Fairfax was." Lord Roderick 
.Douglas and Mr Pitcairn went out for their stalk ; and all 
the rest of the company betook themselves to their usual 

" "Where's her ladyship ? " 

" In the boudoir, sir, waiting for the doctor." 

" What doctor ? Dr Joyce ? " 

" And the strange gentleman, sir. They're both together 
in Miss Madeleine's room." 

" Ah, Muriel ! So Dr "VVilmot has arrived ? " 

" Tes, and gone off straight with Joyce to Madeleine. 
Tou see I was right in recommending you to go out as usual. 
Tour fine London physician never asked for you, never 
mentioned your name." 

" Well, perhaps you were right. I should have worried 
myself into a fever here ; not that I've done any good out — 
missed every shot. What's he like ? " 

" He ! Who ? Dr Wilmot ? I had scarcely an oppor- 
tunity of observing, but I should say hrnsqiie and self- 
sufficient. He and Joyce went off at once. I thanked him 
for coming, and welcomed him in your name and my own ; 
but he did not seem much impressed." 

" Full of his case, no doubt ; these men never think of 
anything but — Ah, here he is ! — Dr Wilmot, a thousand 
thanks for this prompt reply to my hasty summons. Seeing 
the urgency, you'll forgive the apparent freedom of my tele- 
graphing to you." 

" My dear sir," said Wilmot, " I am only too happy to be 
here ; not that, if you could have engrossed the attention of 
this gentleman, there would have been any necessity for the 


summons. Dr Joyce has done everything that could pos- 
sibly be done for Miss Kilsyth up to this point." 

"A laudato viro laudari," murmured Dr Joyce. 

" But, fortunately or unfortunately, as I learn from him, 
a district of thirty miles in circumference looks to him for 
its health. Now I am, for the next few clays at least, a free 
man, and at liberty to devote myself to Miss Kilsyth." 

" Aud you will do so ? " 

" With the very greatest pleasure. In two words let me 
corroborate the opinion already given. I understand by my 
friend here Miss Kilsyth has an attack, more or less serious, 
of scarlet-fever. She must be kept completely isolated from 
every one, and must be watched with unremitting attention. 
Dr Joyce will send to Aberdeen for a skilled nurse, upon 
whom he can depend ; until her arrival I will take up my 
position in the sick-room." 

" Ten thousand thanks ; but — is there any danger ? " 

" So far all is progressing favourably. We must look to 
Providence and our own unremitting attention for the 

" I'm so hot and so thirsty, and these pillows are so un- 
comfortable ! Thanks ! Ah, is that you, Dr Wilmot ? I 
was afraid you had gone. You won't leave me — at least not 
just yet — will you ? " 

" Not 1, my dear. There — that's better, isn't it ? The 
pillow is cooler, and the lemonade — " 

" Ah, so many thanks I'm very weak to-night ; but 
your voice is so kind, and your manner, and — " 

" There ; now try and sleep. — Q-ood heavens, how lovely 
she is ! What a mass of golden hair falling over her pillow, 
and what a soft, innocent, childish manner ! And to think 
that only this morning I — ah, you must never hear the 
details of this case, my dear old master. When I get back 
to town I will tell you the result : but the details — never." 




"I wonder what sort of woman Chudleigh Wilmot'a 
wife is," was a phrase very often used by his acquaintances ; 
and the sentiment it expressed was not unnatural or inex- 
cusable. There are some men concerning whom people in- 
stinctively feel that there is something peculiar in their 
domestic history, that their every-day life is not like the 
every-day life of other people. Sometimes this impression 
is positive and defined ; it takes the shape of certain convic- 
tion that things are wrong in that quarter ; that So-and-so's 
marriage is a mistake, a misfortune, or a calamity, just as 
the grade of the blunder makes itself felt by his manner, or 
even by the expression of the countenance. Sometimes the 
impression is quite vague, and the questioner is conscious 
only that there must be something of interest to be known. 
The man's wife may be dear to him, with a special dearness 
and nearness, too sacred, too much a part of his inmost being, 
to be betrayed to even the friendliest eyes ; or there may be 
an estraugement, which pride and rectitude combine to con- 
ceal. At all events — and whichever of these may be the 
true condition of affairs, or whatever modification of them 
may be true — the man's acquaintance feel that there is 
something in his domestic story different from that of other 
men, and they regard him with a livelier curiosity, if he be 
a man of social or intellectual mark, in consequence. 

It was in the vaguest form that the question " What 
sort of a woman is Chudleigh Wilmot's wife ? " suggested 
itself to his acquaintances. Naturally, and necessarily, 
the greater number of those to whom the rising man be- 
came known knew him only in his professional capacity ; 
but that capacity involved a good deal of knowledge, and 


not a little social intercourse ; and there was hardly one 
among their number who did not say, sooner or later, to 
himself, or to other people, " I wonder what sort of woman 
Chudleigh Wilmot's wife is ? " 

This question had been asked mentally, and of each 
other, by several of the inmates of the old mansion of 
Kilsyth ; while the grave, pre-occupied, and absorbed phy- 
sician dwelt within its walls, devoting all his energies of 
mind and body to the battle with disease, in which he was 
resolved to conquer. But no one who was there, or likely 
to be there, could have answered the question, strange to 
say — not even Wilmot himself. 

Chudleigh Wilmot's marriage had come about after a 
fashion in which there was nothing very novel, remarkable, 
or interesting. Mabel Darlington was a pretty girl, who 
came of a good family, with which Wilmot's mother had 
been connected ; had a small fortune, which was very 
acceptable to the young man just starting in his arduous 
profession ; and was as attractive to him as any woman 
could have been at that stage of his life. Partly inclina- 
tion, partly convenience, and in some measure persuasion, 
were the promoters of the match. "Wilmot knew that a 
medical man had a better chance of success as a married 
than as a single man ; and as this was a fixed, active, and 
predominant idea among his relatives and friends — in fact, 
an article of faith, and a perpetual text of continual dis- 
courses — he had everything to encourage him in the design 
which had formed itself, though somewhat faintly, in his 
mind, when he renewed his acquaintance with Miss Dar- 
lington, on the occasion of her appearance at his mother's 
house in the character of a " come out " young lady. He 
had often seen her as a child and a little girl, being himself 
at the time a somewhat older child and a much bigger 
boy ; but he had never entertained for her that disinterested, 
ardent, wretchedness-producing passion known as " calf 


love ; " so that the impression she made upon him at a 
later period owed nothing to earlier recollection. His 
mother liked the girl, and praised her eloquently and per- 
sistently to Chudleigh ; so eloquently and persistently in- 
deed, that if he had not happened to be of her opinion from 
the beginning, she would probably have inspired him with 
a powerful dislike to Miss Darlington, by placing that 
young lady in his catalogue of bores. He was not by any 
means the sort of man to marry a woman for whom he 
did not care at all, to please his mother, or secure his own 
prosperity ; but he was just the sort of man to care all the 
more for a girl because his mother liked her, and to make 
up his mind to marry her, if she would have him, the more 
quickly on that account. 

The courtship was a short one ; and even in its brief 
duration Chudleigh "Wilmot never felt, never tried to per- 
suade himself, that Mabel was his first object in life. He 
knew that his profession had his heart, his brain, his 
ambition in its grasp ; that he loved it, and thought of it, 
and lived for it in a way, and to a degree, which no other 
object could ever compete with. It never occurred to him 
for a moment that there was any injustice to Mabel in 
this. He would be an affectionate and faithful husband ; 
but he was a practical man — not an enthusiast, not a 
dreamer. If he succeeded — and he was determined to 
succeed — she would share his success, the realization of 
his ambition, and would secure all its advantages to her- 
self. A man to do real work in the world, and to do it as 
a man ought — as alone he could feel the answer of a good 
conscience in doing anything he should undertake — must 
put his work above and before everything. He would do 
this ; he would be an eminent physician, a celebrated and 
rich man ; a good husband too ; and his wife should never 
have reason to find fault with him, or to envy the wives 
of other men — men who might indeed be more sentimental 


and demonstrative, but who could not have a stronger sense 
of duty than he. Thus thought, thus resolved Mabel 
Darlington's lover ; and very good thoughts, very admirable 
resolves his were. They had only one defect, but he never 
suspected its existence. It was a rather radical defect too, 
being this : that they were not those of a lover at all. 

They were married, and all went very well with the 
modest and exemplary household. At first the Wilmot 
menage was not so fashionably located as afterwards ; but 
Mrs Wilmot's house was always a model of neatness, pro- 
priety, and the precise degree of elegance which the rising 
man's income justified at each level which he attained. 
Wilmot's mother continued to like her daughter-in-law, 
and to regard her son's marriage as most propitious, though 
she had sometimes a doubt whether she really did under- 
stand his wife quite so thoroughly as she had understood 
Mabel Darlington. But Wilmot's mother had now been 
dead some years. Mrs Wilmot had no near relatives, and 
she was a woman of few intimacies ; her life was placid, 
prosperous, conventional. She had, at the period with 
which this story deals, a handsome house, a good income, 
an agreeable and eminently respectable social circle ; a 
handsome, irreproachable husband, rapidly rising into 
distinction ; one intimate friend, and — a broken heart. 

Chudleigh Wilmot's wife was young ; if not beautiful, 
at least very attractive, accomplished, lady-like, and 
"amiable," in the generally accepted interpretation of 
that unsatisfactory word. What better or what worse 
description could possibly be given ? It describes a 
thousand women in a breath, and it designates not one in 
particular. There was only, one person in existence who 
could have given a more clear, intelligible, and distinct 
description of Mrs Wilmot than this stereotyped one. 
This person was her friend Mrs Prendergast — a lady some- 
what older than herself, and whose natural and remarkable 


quickness and penetration were aided in this instance by 
close acquaintance and sleepless jealousy. If Mrs Pren- 
dergast had been an ordinary woman, as silly as her sister- 
hood and no sillier, the fact that she was extremely jealous 
of Mrs Wilmot would have so obscured and perverted her 
judgment, that her opinion would not have been worth 
having. But Mrs Prendergast was very unlike her sister- 
hood. Not only was she negatively less silly, but she was 
positively clever; and being severe, suspicious, and -im- 
placable as well, if not precisely a pleasant, she was at 
least a remarkable woman. Nothing obscured or perverted 
Mrs Prendergast's judgment ; neither did anything touch 
her heart. She had mind, and a good deal of it ; she had 
experience and tact, insight, foresight, and caution. She 
was a woman who might possibly be a very valuable friend, 
but who could not fail to be a very dangerous enemy. In 
such a nature the power of enmity would probably be 
greater than the power of friendship, and the one would 
be likely to crush the other if ever they came into collision. 
Mrs Prendergast was Mrs Wilmot's friend. Whether she 
was the friend of Mrs Wilmot's husband remains to be 
seen. If she had been asked to say what manner of woman 
the rising man's wife was, and had thought proper to 
satisfy the inquirer, her portraiture might have been relied 
upon as implicitly for its truthfulness as that of the most 
impartial observer, which is saying at once that Mrs Pren- 
dergast was a woman of exceptional mental qualities, and 
of a temperament rare among those charming creatures to 
whom injustice is easy and natural. 

The two women were habitually much together. Mrs 
Prendergast was a childless widow. Mrs Wilmot was a 
childless wife. .Neither had absorbing domestic occupa- 
tions to employ her, — each had a good deal of time at the 
other's disposal ; hence it happened that few days passed 
without their meeting, and enjoying that desultory kind of 


companionship which is so puzzling to the male observer 
of the habits and manners of womankind. Their respective 
abodes were within easy distance of each other. Mrs 
Prendergast lived in Cadogan-place, and Mrs Wilmot lived 
in Charles-street, St James's. "When they did not see one 
another, they exchanged notes ; and in short they kept up 
all the ceremonial of warm feminine friendship ; and each 
really did like the other better than any one else in the 
world, with one exception. In Mrs Wilmot's case the 
exception was her husband ; in Mrs Prendergast's, the 
exception was herself. There was a good deal of sincerity 
and warmth in their friendship, but in one point there was 
a decided inequality. Mrs Prendergast understood Mrs 
'Wilmot thoroughly; she read her through and through, she 
knew her off by heart ; but Mrs Wilmot knew very little 
of her friend — only just as much as her friend chose she 
should know. Which was a convenient state of things, 
and tended to preserve their pleasant and salutary relations 
unbroken. Mrs Prendergast had played Eleanor Gralligai 
to Mrs Wilmot's Marie de' Medicis for a considerable 
time, and with uninterrupted success, when Chudleigh 
Wilmot was sent for, in the perplexity and distress at 
Kilsyth ; and as a matter of course she had heard from his 
wife about his prolonged visit to Sir Saville Howe, whom 
she was well aware Mrs Wilmot disliked with the quiet, 
rooted, persistent aversion so frequently inspired in the 
breasts of even the very best and most conscientious of 
women by their husbands' intimate friends. Wilmot was 
utterly unconscious that his wife entertained any such 
feeling; and Sir Saville Eowe himself would have been 
hardly more astonished than Wilmot, if it had been revealed 
to him that the confidence and regard which existed be- 
tween the former master and pupil were counted a 
grievance, and Wilmot's visit to Burnside resented, 
silently indeed, in grief rather than anger, as an injury. 


In this fact may be found the key-note to Mrs Wilmot's 
character ; a key-note often struck by her friend's hand, and 
never with an erring, a faltering, or a rough touch. 

There was not much of the tragic element in Henrietta 
Prendergast's jealousy of Mabel Wilmot, but there was a great 
deal of the mean. When Mabel was a young girl, Henrietta 
was a not much older widow. She was Mabel's cousin; 
had married, when very young, a man who had survived their 
marriage only one year. She had more money than Mabel ; 
their connections were the same ; she had as much educa- 
tion, and even better manners. She met Chudleigh "VVilmot 
on the occasion of his renewing his acquaintance with Mabel 
Darlington, and she was as much, though differently, fascin- 
ated with him as Mabel herself. She compared her qualifi- 
cations with those of her cousin ; and she arrived at the not 
unnatural conclusion that their charms were equal, suppos- 
ing him incapable of discerning how much cleverer a woman 
than Mabel she was, — and hers very superior, should he 
prove capable of understanding and appreciating her intel- 
lectual superiority. She forgot one simple element in the 
calculation, and it made all the difference — she forgot Mabel's 
prettiness. Henrietta Prendergasb made very few mistakes, 
but she did constantly make one blunder ; she forgot her 
plain face, she under-estimated the power of beauty. Per- 
haps no plain woman ever does understand that power, ever 
does make sufficient allowance for it, when arrayed against 
her in any kind of combat ; it is certain that Henrietta did 
not in this instance. It is certain that though Clmdleigh 
Wilmot thought of marrying Mabel Darlington without being 
very much in love with her, he never thought of marrying 
Henrietta Prendergast at all. 

And now, when she had come to the conclusion that 
Chudleigh Wilmot had not loved Mabel Darlington, and did 
not love his wife, — was, in short, a man to whom love was 
unknown, by whom it was unvalued, undesired, — she waa 


still steadily, sleeplessly jealous of Mabel "Wilmot. "I 
would have made him love me" she would say to herself, as 
she read the thoughts of her friend ; " I would have been as 
ambitious for him as he is for himself ; I would have shown 
him that his aim was the highest and the worthiest. I would 
have loved him, and sympathized with him too. She only 
loves him ; she does not understand him. Why did she 
come in between him and me ? " For this very clever woman 
had actually deluded herself into the belief that, but for 
Mabel, Chudleigh "Wilmot would have loved, or at least 
have married her. She would have made him love her after- 
wards, as she said. So for a long time she disliked her 
cousin, and hankered after her cousin's husband, and believed 
that she would have been the best, the most suitable, and 
the happiest of wives to the man who evidently had not a 
wife of that pattern in Mabel, but who somehow did not 
seem to perceive the fact. That time had come to an end 
long before people at Kilsyth asked themselves and each 
other what sort of woman Chudleigh Wilmot' s wife was. 
But though Mrs Prendergast no longer hankered after her 
cousin's husband, though the love, in which her active imagin- 
ation had a large share, had given place to a much more real 
and genuine hatred, she was jealous of Mabel still. This 
woman's brain was larger than her heart; her intellectual 
was higher than her moral nature ; and a lofty feeling would 
be more transient than a low one. She pitied Mabel Wil- 
mot too, however contradictory such an assertion may seem 
to shallow perceptions, which do not recognize in life that 
nothing is so reasonably to be expected, so invariably to be 
found, as contradictions in character. She liked her, she 
understood her, but she was jealous of her — jealous because 
Mabel had the position she had vainly desired. If she had 
had her husband's love, Mrs Prendergast would have been 
still more jealous of her, and would not have liked, because 
she could not have pitied her. But she knew she had not 


that ; she had made the discovery as soon as Mabel, who had 
made it fatally soon. 

"What had the girl's ideal been? was a question none 
could answer, and which it is certain her husband never 
asked. He was very kind to her ; she had every comfort, 
every luxury that he could give her ; but she lived in a world 
of which he knew nothing, and he in and for his profession. 
He could not have been brought to recognize the possibility 
of over devotion to the business of his life. He would not 
have listened to the advance of any claims upon his time, 
attention, or interest, beyond those which he fulfilled with 
enthusiasm in the interests of his work, and the courteous 
observance which he never denied to the rules of his well- 
regulated household. Chudleigh Wilmot was a clever man 
in many ways beside that one way in which he was eminently 
so ; but one study had long lain near his hand, and he had 
never given time or thought to it ; one book was close to 
him, and he had never turned its leaves — the study of his 
wife's character, the book of his wife's heart. 

Mabel Wilmot was inveterately, incurably shy, extremely 
reserved and reticent by nature, and rather sullen. The 
latter fault of temper had made itself apparent to her hus- 
band very early in their married life ; and having rebuked it 
without effect, he made the great mistake of treating it with 
disregard. He never noticed it now ; the symptoms escaped 
him, the disease did not interest him, and it grew and grew. 
Proud, cold in manner, distant ; scrupulously deferential 
and dutiful in externals ; silent, except where speech was 
necessary to the management of such affairs as lay within 
her sphere ; calmly indifferent, to all appearance, to all that 
did not absolutely concern her individually in the course of 
their life, her shyness and her sullenness were not percepti- 
ble to others now — never to him. He did not know that it 
was so much the worse ; he did not understand that it had 
been better to know and feel her faults than to be ignorant 


of her and them, unconscious of their growth, or their yield- 
ing, or their transformation into others, uglier, worse, harder 
of eradication, more hopeless of cure. He did not love her. 
The whole story was in that one sentence. 

And she ? She loved him ; certainly not wisely, all things 
considered, and much too well for her own peace. She had 
outgrown her girlhood since her marriage ; and her cha- 
racter had hardened, darkened, deepened, everything but 
strengthened, with her advance into womanhood. The girl 
Chudleigh Y/ilmot had married, and the graceful languid 
woman who appeared barely conscious of, and not at all in- 
terested in, the fact of his existence, were widely different 
beings. Mabel had shrunk from the knowledge of the thral- 
dom in which her love for her husband — her calm, cold, 
generous, irreproachable husband — held her when she had 
first realized its strength, when the growth of her own love 
had revealed to her that his was but a puny changeling, with 
all the sensitiveness of a shy, sullen, and reticent nature. 
She could not deny, but she could conceal, the bondage in 
which it held her. The qualities of her heart and the defects 
of her temper had a fight for the mastery, and temper won. 
Chudleigh Wilmot, if he had been obliged to think about 
the matter, would have unhesitatingly declared that his wife's 
temper had improved considerably since the early days of 
their marriage : the truth was, it had only lost impulsiveness, 
and acquired sulk and secretiveness. 

All this, and the terrible pain at the young woman's un- 
satisfied heart, — the pain which devoured her the more ruth- 
lessly as success waited more closely upon the devotion to 
his profession of the man she loved, and in whose life she 
had but a nominal share, — was well known to Henrietta 
Prendergast. It had been long in coming, that burst of 
agonized confidence, which had made her friend officially 
aware of all that her acute mind had long believed ; but it 
had come, and like all the confidences of very shy people, it 


had been complete and expansive. All restraint was over. 
Mabel might yield to any mood how in Henrietta's presence; 
she might talk of him with pride, with love, with anger, with 
questioning wonder, with despair ; she, whose armour of pride 
and silence no other hand, not even the band of the husband 
she loved, had ever pierced, was defenceless, unarmed, at the 
mercy of her friend, who fancied she had supplanted her, 
who was jealous of her. 

Chudleigh Wilmot had been nearly a week at Kilsyth, 
when Mrs Prendergast, entering her cousin's drawing-room 
rather earlier than usual, found her agitated, and in a state 
of perplexity. 

" I am so glad you have come, Henrietta," said Mrs "Wil- 
mot, as she kissed her visitor. " I have been in such anxiety 
to see you. A messenger was sent early this morning from 
Mr Foljambe — you know Wilmot's friend, Mr Foljambe the 
banker, of Portland-place — requesting that he would go to 
him at once. The poor old man has the gout again very 
badly. Since then a note has come ; written by himself too, 
and hardly legible. Poor creature ! I'm sure he is in horrid 
pain. Here it is. You see he says, ' the enemy is advancing 
on the citadel ' — he means his heart or his stomach, I sup- 
pose — and he entreats "Wilmot to go to him at once. What 
ought I to do, Henrietta ? " 

" Tou must tell him, of course, that Mr Wilmot is out 
of town. I should not say he was so far away as Scotland ; 
I think the mere idea is enough to terrify a nervous old man 
with a superstition in favour of a particular doctor." 

" Tes, yes, you are right ; so it is. But about Wiltnot. 
Of course he will not like to leave Sir Saville's friends. He 
thinks more of Sir Saville than of any one in the world, I do 

"Hardly more, Mabel, than of his reputation and Mr 
Poljambe, I should think. Why, this Mr Poljambe is the 
oldest friend he has in the world — his godfather, his father's 


friend, — a childless old man, without kith or kin in the 
world, who may leave him a fortune any day, and is certain 
to leave him something very handsome ! He would never be 
so mad or so ungrateful — is he of an ungrateful disposition, 
Mabel ? " 

" I don't know exactly," said Mrs Wilmot, as her colour 
deepened, and tears rose to her dark gray eyes. " If he lias 
any feeling, it is certainly for his friends — at least he wastes 
none of it on ine." 

"You are always brooding over that, Mabel," said her 
cousin, "and it is labour and sorrow wasted. No man is 
worth being miserable about, dear, and Wilmot is no more 
worth it than his neighbours. Besides, this is a matter of 
business, you know, and we must loolf at it so. Tou had 
better telegraph at once, I think. Put on your bonnet, and 
come to the office ; don't trust to a servant, and don't lose 
time. The message will take some time to reach him, at the 
quickest. I fancy Kilsyth is a long way from any station." 

Her practical tone had a beneficial effect on Mabel. Be- 
sides, she brightened at the hope, the expectation of Wil- 
mot's return before the appointed time. The two ladies 
drove to Charing-cross, and Mabel telegraphed to "Wilmot : 

"Mr Foljambe is dangerously ill. Come at once. :: 



The illness of Madeleine Kilsyth engrossed the attention 

and engaged the sympathy of her father so completely, and 

so entirely blinded him to other considerations, that when 

he chanced to encounter a servant on his way to Wilmofc's 

room, in whose band he recognized the ominous yellow cover 

e 2 


which indicated a telegraphic despatch, he immediately ac- 
companied the man to the door. He then hardly gave his 
guest time to peruse the message before he said impetuously : 

" Nothing to take you away from us, I trust. Pray tell 
me ? " and the otherwise polite gentleman did his best to 
peer at the pencilled characters on the flimsy sheet of paper 
which Wilmot held in his hand. For a moment his eager 
question remained unanswered, and his guest stood frowning 
and uncertain. The next, though the frown remained, the 
look of uncertainty passed away, and then Wilmot turned 
frankly to the impatient questioner and said : 

"This is a message from an old friend aud patient of. 
mine. He wants me very much, and asks me to return at 

"And — and what will you do ? Must you go ? " asked 
the distressed father in a tone of the keenest anxiety. 

" I shall stay here, sir, until your daughter is out of 
danger. There are many who can replace me in London in 
Foljambe's case : there is no one who can replace me here in 
Miss Kilsvth's." 

" You are very good, Wilmot. I really can't thank you 
sufficiently," said Kilsyth, immensely relieved. 

" No need to thank me at all, my dear sir," said Wilmot. 
" And now I will make my report to you, which no doubt 
you were coming to hear." 

The two gentlemen had rather a long talk, and on its 
completion Wilmot returned to his room to write letters ; 
and Kilsyth went to tell Lady Muriel that they had had a 
narrow escape of losing Wilmot, but he had determined to 
disregard the message, and stay by Madeleine. Did she not 
think Wilmot a very fine fellow ? Had she not perfect con- 
fidence in his skill ? and was not the interest he was taking 
in Madeleine's case extraordinary ? To all these queries the 
Lady Muriel made answer in the affirmative, with heightened 
colour and brightened eyes, which, if Kilsyth had happened 


to notice those phenomena at all, he would have ascribed to 
an increase of feeling towards Madeleine ; to be hailed, on 
his part, with much gratitude and delight. But Kilsyth did 
not happen to notice them at all. 

Chudleigh "Wilmot was a man accustomed to act promptly 
on a resolution ; and perhaps, like many more of similar 
temperament, likely to act all the more promptly when the 
motives of that resolution were not quite clear or quite jus- 
tifiable before his own judgment. In the present instance 
he certainly did not act with perfect candour towards him- 
self. He made very much to himself of his apprehensions 
concerning the result of Madeleine's illness, and his absolute 
want of confidence in the skill of Mr Joyce. He resolutely 
shut his eyes to the long and substantial claims of Mr Fol- 
jatnbe to paramount consideration on his part, and he de- 
termined to " see this matter out," as he phrased it, in his 
one-sided mental cogitation, by which he meant that he was 
determined to invest the temptation in his way with the 
specious name of duty, and to try to persuade himself that 
he had the assent of his conscience in pursuing a course op- 
posed to his judgment. In pursuance of this determination, 
Chudleigh. Wilmot wrote to his wife the following letter. 
To any one familiar with the man's habits, it would have 
been suggestive, that when he had written " Kilsyth," and 
the date, he paused for several minutes, fidgeted with a stick 
of sealing-wax, got up and walked about the room, and, 
finally, began to write with unusual haste : 

" My dear Mabel, — Tour telegram came all right ; but 
my leaving this is quite impossible for the present. You 
must tell Eoljambe how I am circumstanced. Poor old fel- 
low ! I am sorry for him ; but he will pull through, as usual ; 
and there is nothing to be done for him which any one else 
cannot do just as well as myself. He had better see AVh it- 
taker ; ox', if he does not like him for any reason — and the 


dear old boy is whimsical — let him see Perkins : tell him I 
recommend either confidently. You had better go and see 
him, if your cold is all right again, and cheer him up. As 
for me, I am effectually imprisoned here until this case de- 
cides itself one way or the other. Miss Kilsyth could not 
possibly be left to the care of the country doctor here ; and 
there is no one within any possible distance but Sir Saville, 
who would not stay, supposing he would come, which is 
doubtful. The same answer must be given in all cases for 
the next week or so. There is no use in any one telegraph- 
ing for me. The country about here is beautiful; but of 
course I don't see much of it. The Kilsyths are pleasant 
people in their way, and full of gratitude to me. Lady 
Muriel talks of making your acquaintance when they come 
to town. Xothiug of consequence at home, I suppose ? 
Tell Whittaker to look after Foljambe very zealously, if he 
will have him. — Tours affectionately, C. Wilmot. 

' ; P.S. The case is malignant scarlet-fever, and my patient 
and I are in quarantine. Kilsyth is in great trouble — de- 
voted to his daughter." 

'& 1 - 

When he had sealed this letter, and left it on the table 
for the post, Wilmot once more went to his patient's room. 
The suffering girl had fallen into an uneasy slumber ; her 
face, with the disfiguring flush invading its fairness, was 
turned towards the door, the heavy eyes were closed, and 
the parched red lips were open. With a skilful noiseless 
touch, AVilmot lifted the restless head to an easier attitude 
upon the pillow, and moistened the dry mouth. The girl's 
golden hair had slipped out of the silken net which had con- 
fined it, and a quantity of its thick tresses was caught in one 
hot hand. Wilmot released the tangled hair, laid the hand 
upon the smooth coverlet, looked long at the young face, and 
then, stepping gently to the window where the nurse was 
sitting, asked how long the patient had been sleeping. Ever 


since he had left her, it seemed. Lady Muriel had been 
there, "leastways at the dressing-room door," the nurse 
added, and had wanted to see him particularly, she (the 
nurse) thought, about sending the children out of the way of 
infection. Lady Muriel also asked whether they were not 
going to cut off Miss Kilsyth's hair. 

" Which it does seem a pity, poor dear ! " said the nurse, 
speaking in the skilful whisper which does not disturb the 
patient, and is the most difficult of tones to acquire ; and 
throwing a motherly glance at the sleeping girl, who just 
then moaned painfully. 

" Cut off her hair ! " said Wilmot, — as if the mere notion 
were a horrid barbarism, which he could not contemplate as 
a possibility ; " certainly not — it is entirely unnecessary." 

" Well, sir," said the nurse, "it's mostly done in fevers. 
Wherever I've nursed, I've always done it, first thing." 

Wilmot turned red and hot. Why should he shrink 
from sanctioning or ordering the sacrifice in this case, as 
he had done in a thousand others without a thought of 
hesitation or regret, just like any other detail P Why, in- 
deed ? if not because those were the thousand cases, while 
this was the one. But he did not face the question ; he 
turned aside from it — turned aside, with his eyes piercing 
the gloom of the shaded room, in search of the gleam of 
the golden locks. " No, no," he thought, " the ' little head 
sunning over with curls ' shall ' shine on,' if I can manage 
it." So he told the nurse that was a matter for after con- 
sideration, and that she was to have him called when Miss 
Kilsyth should wake ; and he went out for a solitary walk. 

Lady Muriel was most grateful to Dr Wilmot for the 
care and skill which he exercised in Madeleine's case. 
Scarcely Kilsyth himself was more unremitting in his in- 
quiries after the patient, more anxious as to the result. 
But husband and wife were actuated by totally different 
motives. The man f&tred lest the hope of his life should 


be quenched, the woman lest the object of her ambition 
should be frustrated ; the man dreaded the loss of his dar- 
ling, the woman the confusion of her scheme. For Lady- 
Muriel had a scheme in connection with Madeleine Kilsyth, 
which it may be as well at once to declare. 

It is Mr Longfellow who informs us that no one is so 
accursed by fate, no one so utterly desolate, but some 
heart, though unknown, responds unto his own. "When 
Lady Muriel Inchgarvie was running her career of two 
London seasons, waiting for the arrival of the man whom 
she could persuade herself into marrying, and whom she 
could persuade into marrying her ; while Mr Burton and 
Sir Coke Only were fluttering like moths round. her brilliant 
light — the world, which thinks it marks everything, and 
which hugs itself in appreciation of its wonderful sagacity 
and perspicacity, and which had already supremely settled 
that Lady Muriel had no heart to lose, little knew that its 
sentence was a just one — simply because Lady Muriel had 
lost her heart. There was a connection of the house of 
Inchgarvie, a tall thin Scotchman, named Stewart Caird, a 
barrister of Lincoln's-inn, who had been a long time settled 
in London, and who, in virtue of his aristocratic con- 
nections, his perfect gentlemanliness, and his utter harm- 
lessness — for every one knew that poor Stewart merely lived 
from hand to mouth by the exercise of his profession, and 
by writing in the law magazines and reviews — was asked 
into a good deal of society. He was a languid, con- 
sumptive-looking man, with a high hectic colour, and deep- 
violet eyes, and a soft tremulous voice ; and after he had 
claimed kinship with Lady Muriel, and had his claim 
allowed, he found plenty of opportunities of meeting her 
constantly, and on every occasion he was to be found by 
her side. This was the one chance which fortune had 
bestowed on Muriel Inchgarvie of loving and being simul- 
taneously beloved ; and it is but fair to say that she availed 


herself of it. Not for one instant did either of them think 
of the hopelessness of their passion. Lady Muriel well 
knew that a marriage with Stewart Caird was simply 
impossible ; and Stewart Caird knew it too, possessing at 
the same time the additional knowledge, that even if family 
affairs could have been squared by his coming into the 
immediate heritage of fabulous wealth, there was yet a 
slight drawback in the fact that his lungs could not pos- 
sibly hold out beyond six months. And yet they went on 
loving and fooling : to her the mere fact that there could 
never be any ties between them was, as it always has been, 
an incentive to a quasi-romantic attachment ; to him, with 
the perfect conviction that he was a doomed man, the love 
of a pretty high-bred woman softened the terrors of death, 
and prevented him from dwelling on his fate. So they 
went on ; the world taking little heed of them, and they 
ignoring the world; he growing weaker and weaker, but 
always disguising his weakness, until one night in the 
height of the season, when Lady Muriel, dressed for a ball, 
received a short pencil-note, feebly scrawled : " If you 
would see me before I die, come at once. — S. C. You 
know me well enough to be certain that this is no romantic 
figure of speech." The writing, feeble throughout, trailed 
off at last into scarcely legible characters. Lady Muriel 
wrote one hasty line to the lady who was to be her 
chaperon, pleading illness as her excuse for not fetching 
her, threw a thick cloak and hood over her ball-dress and 
her ivy-wreathed hair, and told the coachman, who was 
devoted to her, to drive her to Old-square, Lincoln's-inn. 
There, propped up by pillows, and attended by a hired 
nurse, who was by no means reluctant to take a hint, and; 
accompanied by a spirit-bottle, to betake herself to a fur- 
ther room, she found poor Stewart Caird, with large bistre 
rings round his eyes and two flaming red spots on his 
hollow cheeks. Between the attacks of a racking cough, 


he told her that his end was nigh ; that he had long fore- 
seen it, but that he could not deny himself the privilege of 
winning her love. He acknowledged the selfishness of the 
act ; but trusted she would pardon him, when he assured 
her that the knowledge that she cared for him had in- 
expressibly lightened the last few months of his earthly 
career, and that he should die more happily, knowing that 
he left one regretful heart behind him. He said this in a 
voice which was tolerably firm at first, but which, touched 
by her sobs, grew more and more tremulous, and finally 
broke down, when, in an access of emotion, she flung her 
arms round him, and clasped him to her heart. How long 
they remained thus tranced in love and grief neither ever 
knew ; it was the first, the last wild access of passion that 
ever was to accrue to either. The future, so imminent to 
one of them at least, was unthought of, and they lived but 
in the then present fleeting moment. But before they 
parted Stewart spoke to Muriel of his younger brother 
Eamsay, who had been left to his care, and whom he was 
now leaving to the mercy of the world. For Muriel there 
was, he said he was persuaded, a career in life. When it 
fell to her, when she was enjoying it, would she, for the 
sake of him who had loved her — ab, so deeply and so 
dearly ! — whose life she had cheered, and who with his 
dying breath would call upon and bless her name — would 
she watch over and provide for Eamsay Caird ? With the 
dying man's hand in hers, with her arm round his neck, 
with her eyes looking into his, even then glazed and 
wandering, Muriel swore to fulfil his wishes, and to under- 
take this charge. Within forty-eight hours Stewart Caird 
was dead ; within six weeks after his death Muriel Inch- 
garvie was the pledged wife of Kilsyth ; and within a fort- 
night of her betrothal she had hit upon a plan for the 
future of her dead lover's brother. 

Eamsay Caird's future career in life was, as Lady 


Muriel decided, to be one with Madeleine Kilsyth's, and 
Lis fortune was to come to him through his wife. Made- 
leine's godfather, a childless, rich, old Highland proprietor, 
an old friend and neighbour of Kilsyth's, had at his death 
left her twenty thousand pounds, to be hers on her coming of 
age, or on her marrying with her father's consent. A pleasant 
competence in itself, but a princely fortune for a young 
man of small ideas like Ramsay Caird, who was earning a 
very precarious salary, given to him more from kindness 
than from any desert of his, in the office of the Edinburgh 
agent to several, large estates. Soon after her marriage Lady 
Muriel sent for the young man to Kilsyth, found him gen- 
tlemanly and unassuming, sufficiently shrewd to comprehend 
the extremely delicate hints which she gave him as to the 
course which she wished him to adopt, and sufficiently deli- 
cate to prevent his at once plunging in medias res. Since 
then he had been frequently at Kilsyth, and had done his 
best to make himself agreeable to Madeleine. He was a 
good-looking, gentlemanly, quiet young man, without very 
much to say for himself, beyond the ordinary society talk, 
in which he was fairly glib ; he had the names of all the 
members of all the families for whom his principal was agent 
at his tongue's end ; had seen many of them personally, — 
even knew the appearance of the rest by photograph ; kept 
himself well posted in their movements, through the me- 
dium of the fashionable journals ; and so could fairly hold 
his own in the conversation of the people he was thrown 
amongst. Lady Muriel, who was as clever as she was 
proud and ambitious, reckoned Ramsay Caird up to a 
nicety ; saw exactly how far he was suitable for her plans, 
and thought there was little doubt of Madeleine's being cap- 
tivated by the handsome glib young man who paid her such 
respectful homage. But for once in her life Lady Muriel 
was wrong. It is but fair to say that Eamsay Caird never 
neglected one of the opportunities so frequently thrown in 


his way ; that he never once committed himself in any pos 
sible manner ; that he did not on every occasion seek to re- 
commend himself to the girl's favour ; but it is certain that 
he failed in making the smallest impression on her. Lady 
Muriel, watchi><- fte progress of affairs with the greatest 
interest, soon feft this, and was at first dispirited ; after- 
wards consoling herself by the thought that the girl was 
passionless and devoid of feeling, but so docile withal, that 
it would be only necessary for her father to suggest her ac- 
ceptance of Mr Caird for her at once to fall into the idea. 
Thoroughly comforted by this notion, Lady Muriel had of 
late given herself no uneasiness in the matter ; contenting 
herself by asking Ramsay Caird to spend a week or two 
now and then at Kilsyth, by throwing him frequently into 
Madeleine's society when there, and by keeping up a per- 
petual gently flowing perennial stream of laudation of her 
young protege to her husband. 

On Wilinot's return to the house, he inquired whether 
it would be convenient to Lady Muriel to receive him. 

" My lady " was in her own sitting-room, and would be 
very happy to see Dr "Wilmot. So he went thither, and 
found the mistress of the mansion alone, and looking to 
very great advantage in the midst of all the luxuries and 
refinements with which wealth — in this instance aided by 
good taste — adorns life. Her rich and simple dress, her 
finished graceful ease of manner, her sunny beauty, and 
the perfect propriety with which she expressed interest and 
anxiety concerning her step-daughter, made her a very at- 
tractive object to Wilmot. He had not yet discovered that 
she did not in the least experience the sentiments which she 
glibly expressed in phrases of irreproachable tournure; he did 
not suspect her of insincerity or want of feeling, or in fact 
of any fault. Everything and everybody at Kilsyth wore 
the best and fairest of aspects in the eyes of Chudleigh 
"Wilmot, who was, nevertheless, a very far-seeing and an 


eminently practical man. Thus, lie only furnished another 
proof of the often-proven truth, that his most distinguish- 
ing qualities are the first to fail a man, when judgment is 
superceded by passion. That is a strong word to use in 
such a case as Chudleigh "Wilmot's, at least to use so soon ; 
but the Boundary between the feeling which he entertained 
knowingly, and the passion which was growing out of it 
unconsciously, was very slight, and was destined so soon to 
be destroyed that the word may pass unblamed. 

The earlier portion of Lady Muriel Kilsyth's conversa- 
tion with "Wilmot was naturally devoted to Madeleine. She 
thanked him, with all her own peculiar "grace and fluency, 
for his attention, his " priceless care," for his resolution, 
which Kilsyth had communicated to her, to remain with 
them in this great trouble. She asked him to tell her his 
" real opinion ; " and he told it. He told her Madeleine 
was in danger ; but that he hoped, and thought, and be- 
lieved, her life would be saved. He spoke with earnestness 
and feeling ; and as he. dwelt upon the youth, the beauty, 
and the sufferings of the girl, upon her exceeding precious- 
ness to her father (and gave Lady Muriel credit for sharing 
her husband's feelings far beyond what she deserved), the 
soft dark eyes fixed themselves upon him with much inter- 
est and curiosity. Deep feeling on any subject was unfa- 
miliar to Lady Muriel ; it was not the habit of her society, 
or included in the scheme of her own organization, and she 
liked it for its strangeness. Their conversation lasted 
long ; for when "Wilmot was summoned to see his patient, 
Lady Muriel invited him to come again to her sitting- 
room ; and he did so. The question of sending her children 
away was speedily decided in the negative ; and then the 
talk rambled on over a great variety of subjects, and Lady 
Muriel regarded Wilmot with increasing interest and sur- 
prise, as she discovered more and more of his originality 
and fertility of mind. She was not a remarkably clever 


woman; but she had more brains and more cultivation 
than were at all common among her " set ; " and she did 
occasionally grow very weary of the well-bred vapid talk, 
which was the only form of social intercourse assumed in 
her circle. She had sometimes wondered whether some- 
thing better was not to be found in the limits within which 
it would be proper for her to seek for it; but she had 
stopped at wonderment; she had not followed it up by 
effort ; and now the very thing she had wished for had 
come to her, in the most unexpected form, and through the 
most unlikely channel. A doctor, a man whose name she 
had merely casually heard, an outsider, one whom in the 
ordinary course of events she would have never met, is 
called in to attend her step-daughter in fever, and all at 
once 'a new world opens upon Lady Muriel Kilsyth. 

She was quick to receive impressions ; and she felt at 
once that this day marked an epoch in her life. As this 
fine-looking, keen, intelligent man, in whose deep-set eyes, 
on whose massive forehead, power was enthroned, bent 
those dark steady eyes upon her, seeming to read her soul, 
the frivolity of her life fell away from her, like a flimsy 
garment discarded, and she felt, she recognized the charm 
of superiority of intellect and strength of character. She 
drew him out on the subjects which had the deepest inter- 
est for him, as a woman can, who has tact and perfect 
manners, even when her intellectual powers are in no way 
remarkable ; and he enjoyed the happy social hours of the 
long, uninterrupted afternoon as much, or nearly as much, 
as she did. Lady Muriel was too quick and too true an 
observer to fail in discerning before they had strayed very 
far into the pleasant paths of their desultory discourse, 
that there was very little sentimentality in Chudleigh 
Wilmot. A practical man, full of action, of ambition, of 
love of knowledge, and resolve to win the highest prizes it 
could bring him, he yet spoke and looked like a man whose 


feelings had been but little tried, and who would be slow 
to try them. Lady Muriel knew that Chudleigh Wilmot 
was a married man. The circumstance had been mentioned 
among the people in the house when he had first been 
talked of; and she was the first at Kilsyth to ask of her- 
self, for she had no other to whom to address it, that fre- 
quent question, " What sort of woman is Chudleigh Wil- 
mot's wife? " She could not have explained, but she did 
not question, the instinct which led her to say, as she went 
to her dressing-room, when their long colloquy at length 
came to a conclusion, " I am sure he does not care for her. 
I am sure it was not a love-match. I feel convinced he 
never was in love in his life, not in any real sense." And 
then, Lady Muriel Kilsyth sighed. Life was not yet an 
old story for either Lady Muriel or Chudleigh. 

That evening Wilmot devoted himself to the patient, 
whose state was highly precarious ; and though he sent 
reassuring messages to Kilsyth from time to time, he ex- 
pressed far more hopefulness than he actually felt. He was 
conscious too of a strange sort of relief — a consciousness 
which should have shown him how he had deceived himself — 
as the conviction that his presence was indeed in the highest 
degree beneficial was confirmed by every passing hour. The 
girl's eyes — now bright and wandering, now dark and weary 
— turned in search of him, in every phase of the fever that 
was gaining on her, with such innocent trust and belief as 
touched him keenly to his conscious heart. In the stillness 
of the night, when the very nurse slept, the physician bent 
down over the flushed face, and hushed the murmuring 
incoherent voice with the tenderest words, and soothed the 
sick girl — little more than a child she looked in her hopeless- 
ness and unrest — with all a woman's gentleness. What did 
he feel for the pretty young creature thus thrown on his 
skill, his kindness, his mercy ! What revolution was the 
silent flight of time, during the hours of that night, working 


in Chudleigh Wilmot's life ? He was learning the reality 
of that in which he had never believed ; he was learning the 
truth of love. Now, when it was too late, when every barrier 
of honour, of honesty, of duty, and of principle stood between 
him and the object of the long-deferred, but terribly real, 
passion which took possession of him. 

"When the dawn was stealing into the sick girl's room, 
the change, the chill, Avhich come with that ghastly hour to 
sickness and to health alike, in wakefulness, came to Made- 
leine, and she called in a high querulous tone for her father. 
The nurse, then beside her, tried to soothe the girl; but 
vainly. She refused to lie down ; she must, she would see 
her father. "Wilmot, who knew that she was quite sensible, 
quite coherent, and who had feared to startle her by letting 
her see him, now came forward, and gently laid her back 
upon her pillow. 

" Tou shall see your father in the morning," he said. 
"I am sure you would not have him disturbed now, my 
dear; would you ? " 

'• No," she said, with a painful smile ; " I would not — 
certainly not. I only wanted to know something ; and you 
will tell me." 

Her large blue eyes were fixed upon him ; her small 
hand was stretched out to him with the frankness of a child. 

" Of course, if I can, I will tell you." 

" Sit down, then," she said, in the thick difficult voice 
peculiar to the disease which had hold of her. 

He did not sit down, but knelt upon the floor by the 
bedside, and raised the pillows on his arm. Her innocent 
face was close to his. 

" Speak as low as you like ; I can hear you," said 
Chudleigh "Wilmot. 

" I will," she whispered. " I thank you. I only wanted 
to ask my father — and I would rather ask you — if — I am 
going to die." 


Her lips were trembling. His sight grew dim as he 
answered : 

" No, my dear. You are very ill ; but you are not 
going to die. You are going to get well — not immediately, 
but before long. You must be patient, you know ; and you 
must do everything you are desired to do." 

" I will when I am sensible," she said ; " but I am not 
always sensible, you know." 

"I know. You are quite sensible now, and the best 
patient I ever had. A great deal depends on yourself. I 
don't mean about not dying; I mean about getting well 
sooner. "Will you try now how long, being quite sensible, 
you can keep quiet ? " 

"I will," she answered, looking at him with the strange 
solemn gaze we see so often in the eyes of a child in mortal 
sickness. " I am so glad, Dr Wilmot, you are sure I am not 
going to die." 

Not a shade of doubt of him ; perfect trust in him, entire 
calm and serenity in the unruffled feeble voice. Her hand lay 
loosely in his, undisturbed except by an occasional feverish 
twitch ; her head was supported by his arm, which held the 
pillows ; his serious eyes scanned her face. So he knelt and 
so she lay as the dawn came ; so he knelt and so she lay as 
the first rays of the sun came glancing in through the closed 
window-curtains ; but they found the patient sleeping, and 
the steady watch of the physician unrelaxed. 

So time passed, and Madeleine's illness took its course, 
and was met and fought and beaten at every turn by the 
skill and judgment, the coolness and the experience, of the 
" rising man." So unwearied a watcher had never been seen 
in" a sick-room ; so cheerful a counsellor and consoler had 
rarely been sent to friends and relatives in anxiety and 
suspense. He was appreciated at his worth at Kilsyth. As 
for Knsyth himself, he reverenced, he esteemed, he next to 


worshipped Wilmot, holding him as almost superhuman. 
The nurse " had never seen such a doctor as him in all her 
born days, never ; and not severe neither ; but knowing as 
the best and wakefullest must have their little bit of rest at 
times." He won golden opinions from all within the old 
walls of Kilsyth, and more than all from its mistress. 

On the whole, and despite his close and devoted attend- 
ance on his patient, Chudleigh "Wilmot saw a great deal of 
Lady Muriel, and an infinite number of topics were discussed 
between them. Each day brought more extended, more 
appreciative comprehension of her guest to the by no means 
dull intellect of Lady Muriel ; and each day quickened her 
womanly perception and kindled her already keen and ready 
jealousy. "When many days had gone by, and Lady Muriel 
would no longer have dreamed of denying to herself how 
much she admired Wilmot, — how utterly different he was 
from any other man whom she had ever known ; how much 
more interesting, how much more engrossing ; a man to be 
looked up to and respected ; a man to suffice to all a woman's 
need of reverence and deference, — she would still have been 
far from acknowledging that she loved him ; but her acknow- 
ledgment or her denial would have made no difference in the 
fact. She did love him, in a lofty and reserved kind of way, 
in which no slur upon her honour, according to the world's 
code, which takes cognizance only of the letter of the law 
and ignores its spirit, was implied ; but with all her heart 
she loved him. 

So now the situation was this. Chudleigh Wilmot loved 
one woman within the walls of the old mansion of Kilsyth ; 
and another woman, their inmate, loved him. "Would she — 
the other, the older, the more experienced woman — discover 
his secret, and overwhelm him with its disgrace ? Time 
alone could tell that — time, of which there was not much to 
run ; for Wilmot had been a fortnight at Kilsyth before he 
could give its .master the joyful intelligence that the fever 


had relaxed its grip of his child, and — barring the always 
present danger in scarlet-fever of relapse, or what is tech- 
nically called " dregs " — Madeleine was safe. 

Mabel Wilmot had written to her husband occasionally 
during the fortnight which had witnessed the rise and the 
crisis of Miss Kilsyth's illness. In her letters, which were 
fe - >v and sparing of details, she never alluded to the cause of 
her husband's unprecedented absence ; Wilmot did not notice 
the omission. She gave him few details concerning herself; 
Wilmot did not observe their paucity. The glamour was 
over him ; the enchanted land held him. 

" I am not feeling much better," said Mabel in one of her 
letters ; " but I daresay — indeed I have no doubt — the 
weather is against me ; Whittaker thinks so too. I enclose 
his report. There is nothing new here, or of importance." 

Chudleigh Wilmot accepted his wife's account of the 
state of things at home, and replied to her letters in his 
usual strain. He had failed to notice that she never alluded 
to Miss Kilsyth ; or he would hardly have dealt with so much 
emphasis, or at such length, on the details of a case to 
which the recipient of his letters manifested such complete 

Dr Whittaker continued to report upon the cases to 
which he had been called in ; and no more telegrams inter- 
rupted the concentration of Chudleigh Wilmot's attention 
upon the illness and convalescence of Madeleine Kilsyth. 



Tirr, routine of illness and anxiety, the dull monotony of 

an absorbing care, had rapidly settled down upon Kilsyth, 

immensely alleviated, of course, by the confidence imposed 

r 2 


by "Wilmot's presence. The influence of his skill, the insens- 
ible support of his calmness and self-reliance, were felt all 
through the household by those members of it to whom the 
life or death of Madeleine was a matter of infinite importance, 
and by those who felt a decent amount of interest, but could 
have commanded their feelings readily enough. As for 
"Wilmot himself, he would have found it difficult to account 
for the absorption of feeling and interest with which he 
watched the case, had he been called upon to render any 
account of it to others. In his own mind he shirked the 
question, and simply devoted himself day and night to his 
patient, leaving the house only once a day for a brief time, 
during which he would stride up and down the terrace in 
front of the house, gulping-in all the fresh air he could 
inhale ; and then his place in the sick-chamber was taken by 
an old woman, who had years before been Madeleine's nurse, 
and who was now married and settled on the estate. Not 
since the old days of his house-surgeonship at St Vitus's 
had Chudleigh Wilmot had such a spell of duty as this : the 
fact of his giving up his time in this manner to a girl with 
whom he had not exchanged twenty words, with whose friends 
he had no previous acquaintance, in whom he could have no 
possible interest, came upon him frequently in his enforced 
exercise on the terrace, in his long weary vigils in the sick- 
room ; and each time that he thought it over he felt or pro- 
nounced it to himself to be more and more inexplicable. In 
London he made it an inexorable rule never to leave his bed 
at night, unless the person sending for him were a regular 
patient, no matter what might be their position in life, or the 
exigency of their case ; and even among his own connection 
he kept strictly to consultation and prescription ; he under- 
took no practical work, there were apothecaries and nurses 
for that sort of thing. He had a list of both, whom he could 
recommend, but he himself never paid any attention to such 
matters. And here he was acting as a combination of 


physician, apothecary, and nurse, dispensing the necessary 
medicines from the family medicine-chest, sitting up all night, 
concocting soothing drinks, and smoothing hot and uneasy 

"Why ? Chudleigh Wilmot had asked himself that 
question a thousand times, and had not yet found the 
answer to it. Beauty in distress — and this girl, for all her 
mass of golden hair and her bright complexion and her blue 
eyes, could only be called pretty — beauty in distress was no 
more strange to Chudleigh Wilmot than to the hero of 
nautical melodrama at a transpontine theatre. He was con- 
stantly being called in to cases where he saw girls as young 
and as pretty as Madeleine Kilsyth " hove down in the bay 
of sickness," as the said nautical dramatic hero forcibly 
expresses it. Scarcely a day passed that he was not for some 
few minutes by the couch of some woman of far superior 
attractions to this young girl, and yet of whom he had never 
thought in any but the most thoroughly professional manner, 
listening to her complaints, marking her symptoms, prescrib- 
ing his remedies, and entering up the visit in his note-book, 
as he whirled away in his carriage, as methodically as a City 
accountant. But he had never felt in his life as he felt one 
bright afternoon when the wild delirium had spent its rage 
and died away, and the doctor sat by the girl's bedside, and 
held her hand, no longer dry and parched with fever, and 
bent over her to catch the low faint accents of her voice. 

" You don't know me, Miss Kilsyth," said he gently, as 
he saw her dazed by looking up into his face. 

" Oh yes," said Madeleine, in ever so low a voice, — " Oh 
yes ; you are Doctor — Doctor — I cannot recollect your name ; 
but I know you were sent for, and I saw you before — before 
I was—" 

" Before you were so ill ; quite right, my dear young 
lady. I am Dr Wilmot, and you have been very ill ; but you 
are better now, and — please Grod — will soon be well." 


"Dr Wilinot! Oh yes, I recollect. But, please, don't 
think because I could not recall your name that I did not 
know you. I have known you all through this— this attack. 
I have had an indefinable sense of your presence about me ; 
always kind and thoughtful and attentive, always soothing, 


"Hush, my dear child, hush! you must not talk and 
excite yourself just yet. You have had, as you probably 
know, a very sharp attack of illness ; and you must keep 
thoroughly quiet, to enable us to perfect your recovery." 

" Then I'll only ask one question and say one thing. The 
|ueation first — How is papa ? " 

" Horribly nervous about you, but very well. Constant 
,ii his tappings at this door, unremitting in his desire to be 
admitted ; to which requests I have been obdurate. How- 
ever, when he hears the turn things have taken, he will be 

" That's delightful ! Now, then, all I have to say is to 
thank you, and pray God to bless you for your kindness to 
me. I've known it, though you mayn't think so, and — and 
I'm very weak now; but — " 

He had his strong arm round her, and managed to lay 
her back quietly on her pillow, or she would have fainted. 
As it wa.), when the bright blue eyes withdrew from his, the 
] ight died out of them, aud the lids dropped over them, and 
Madeleine lay thoroughly exhausted after her excitement. 

What idcis the reminiscence thus aroused ? What ghost 
with folded hands came stealing out of the dim regions of 
the past at the sound of this girl's voice, at the glance of this 
girl's eyes ? What bygone memories, so apart from every- 
thing else, rose before him as he listened and as he looked? 
He had not hit the trail yet, but he was close upon it. 

The news that the extremity of danger was past was re- 
ceived with great delight by the guests at Kilsyth. With 
most of them Madeleine was a personal favourite, and all of 


thern felt that a death in the house would have been a serious 
personal inconvenience. The Northallertons, Lady Fairfax, 
and Lord Towcester, were the only secedera ; the others 
either had arranged for later visits elsewhere, or found their 
present quarters far too comfortable to be given up on the 
mere chance of catching an infectious disorder. Some of 
them had had it, and laughed securely ; others feared that 
from the mere fact of their having been in the house when 
the attack took place, they were so "compromised" as to 
prevent their being received elsewhere; and one or two 
actually had the charity to think of their host and hostess, 
and stayed to keep them company, and to be of any service 
in case they might be required. Charley Jefferson belonged 
to this class. Emily Fairfax little knew that by her selfish 
flight from Kilsyth she had entirely thrown away all her 
hold over the great honest heart that had so long held her 
image enshrined as its divinity. She never gave a thought 
to the fact that when the big Q-uardsman used to hum in a 
deep baritone voice the refrain of hers — 

" Loyal je serai 
Durant ma vie " — 

he was expressing one of the guiding sentiments of his life. 
Colonel Jefferson was essentially loyal ; to shrink from a 
friend who was in a difficulty, to shuffle out of supporting in 
purse, person, or any way in which it might be requisite, a 
comrade who had a claim of old acquaintance or strong 
intimacy, was in his eyes worse than the majority of crimes 
for which people stand at the dock of the Old Bailey. In 
this matter he never swerved for an instant. He never gave 
the question of infection a thought ; he had had scarlet-fever 
at Eton, and jungle-fever out in India, and he was as case- 
hardened, he said, as a rhinoceros. He took no credit to 
himself for being fearless of infection, or indeed for anything 
else, this brave simple-minded good fellow ; but if any one 
had been able to see the working of hia heart, they would 


have known what credit he deserved for holding to bis grand 
old creed of loyalty to his friend, and for ignoring the whis- 
pers of the siren, even when she was as fascinating and po- 
tential as Emily Fairfax. "When some one asked if he were 
going, he laughed a great sardonic guffaw, and affected to, 
treat the question as a joke. When the disease was pro- 
nounced to be unmistakably infectious, he at once consti- 
tuted himself as a means of communication between Dr 
Wilmot and the outer world ; and his honour and loyalty 
enabled him to face the fact that probably little Lord Tow- 
cester had followed Lady Fairfax to her next visiting-place, 
and was there administering consolation to her with great 
equanimity. When Dr Wilmot came out for his half-hour's 
stride up and down the terrace, he generally found the 
Colonel and Duncan Forbes waiting for him ; and these 
three would pace away together, the two militaires chatting 
gaily on light subjects calculated to relieve the tedium of 
the doctor, and to turn his thoughts into pleasanter channels, 
until it was time for him to go back to his duty. And when 
the worst was over, and Chudleigh Wilmot could have longer 
and more frequent intervals of absence from the sick-room, 
it was Charley Jefferson who proposed that they should 
establish a kind of mess in the smoking-room, where the 
Doctor, who necessarily debarred himself from communion 
with the others at the dinner-table, might yet enjoy the 
social converse of such as were not afraid of infection. So 
a dinner-table was organized in the smoking-room, and 
Jefferson and Duncan Forbes invited themselves to dine 
with the Doctor. They were the next day joined by Mrs 
Severn, who had all along wished to devote herself to the 
invalid, and had with the greatest difficulty been restrained 
from establishing herself en permanence as nurse in Made- 
leine's chamber ; and Mr Pitcairn asked for and obtained 
permission to join the party, and proved to have such a 
talent for imitation and such a stock of quaint Scotch stories 


ns made him a very valuable addition to it. So the " Con- 
demned Cell," as its denizens called it, prospered immensely ; 
and by no means the least enjoyment in the house emanated 
from it. 

Lady Muriel, seeing more and more of Wilmot, as the 
closeness of his attendance on his patient became relaxed by 
her advance towards convalescence, and studying him with 
increased attention, learned to regard him with feelings such 
as no man of her numerous and varied acquaintance had ever 
before inspired her with. The impression he had made upon 
her in the first interview was not removed or weakened, and 
he. presented himself to her mind — which was naturally 
inquiring, and possessed considerably more intelligence than 
she had occasion to use, in a general way, in her easy-going, 
prosperous, and conventional life — in the light of an interest- 
ing and remunerative study. 

Lady Muriel's faultlessly good manners precluded the 
indulgence of any perceptible absence of mind ; and she 
possessed the enviable faculty which some women of the 
world exhibit in such perfection, of carrying, or rather help- 
ing, on a conversation to which she was not in reality giving 
attention, and in which she did not feel the smallest particle 
of interest. The gallant militaires, the dashing sportsmen, 
the grands seigneurs, and the ladies of distinction who were 
among her associates, and the gentlemen, at least of the 
number of her admirers, were accustomed to regard Lady 
Muriel's powers of conversation as something quite out of 
the common way; and so indeed they were — only these 
simple-minded and ingenuous individuals did not quite 
understand the direction taken by their uncommonness. It 
never occurred to them to calculate how much of her talking 
Lady Muriel did by means of intelligent acquiescent looks, 
graceful little bows, sprightly exclamations, a judicious ex- 
pression of intense interest in the subject under discussion 
when it chanced to be personal to the other party to the 


discourse, and sundry other skilful and effective feminine 
devices. It never dawned upon them that one half the time 
she did not hear, and during the whole time she did not care, 
what was said ; that her graceful manner was merely manner, 
and her real state of mind one of complete indifference to 
themselves and almost every one besides. Not that Lady 
Muriel was an unhappy woman. Far from it. She was too 
sensible to be unhappy without just cause ; and she certainly 
had not that. She perfectly appreciated her remarkably 
comfortable lot in life ; she estimated wealth, station, do- 
mestic tranquillity and respect, and the unbounded power 
which she exercised in her household domain, quite as highly 
as they deserved to be estimated ; and though as free from 
vulgarity of mind as from vulgarity of manner, she was not 
in the least likely to affect any sentimental humility or mis- 
take about her own social advantages. She could as easily 
have bragged about them as forgotten them ; but just be- 
cause she held them for what they were worth, and did not 
exaggerate or depreciate them, Lady Muriel was given to 
absence of mind ; and though neither unhappy, nor imagining 
herself so, she was occasionally bored, and acknowledged it. 
Only to herself though. Lady Muriel Kilsyth had no con- 
fidantes, no intimacies. Hers was the equable kind of pros- 
perous life which did not require any ; and she was the last 
woman in the world to acknowledge a weakness which her 
truly admirable manners gave her power most successfully to 

The touch of sorrow or anxiety is a sovereign remedy for 
ennui. It will succeed when all the resources to which the 
victims of that fell disease are accustomed to have recourse 
fail ignominiously. If Lady Muriel had loved Madeleine 
Kilsyth, the girl's illness would have put boredom to flight, 
with the first flush or shiver of fever, the first dimness of the 
eyes, the first tone of complaint in the clear young voice. 
But Lady Muriel did not love Madeleine, and did not pre- 


tend to herself that she loved her. Indeed Lady Muriel 
never pretended to herself. She had seen and understood 
that to deceive oneself is at once much easier and more dan- 
gerous than to deceive other people, and she avoided doing 
so on principle — on the worldly-wise principle, that is, by 
which she so admirably regulated her life — and reaped a rich 
harvest of popularity. She did not dislike the girl at all, 
and she would have been very sorry if she had died, partly 
for the sake of Kilsyth, whom she really liked and admired, 
and who would have broken his stout simple heart for his 
daughter — "much sooner and more surely than for me," 
Lady Muriel thought ; " but that is quite natural, and as it 
should be. She is the child of his first love, and I am his 
second wife, and he is quite as fond of me as I want him to 
be;" for she was a thoroughly sensible woman, and would 
much rather not have had more love than she could recipro- 
cate. But she was perfectly equable and composed. Through- 
out Madeleine's illness ifc did not cause her sorrow, though 
her manner conveyed precisely the proper degree of step- 
motherly concern which was called or under the circum- 
stances ; and she did not suffer" from anxiety, being ration- 
ally satisfied that all the skill, care, and indulgence demanded 
by the exigencies of the case were liberally bestowed on 
Madeleine. Anxiety was quite uncalled for, and therefore 
did not chase away the brooding spirit of ennui from Lady 

The first thing that struck her particularly with regard 
to Chudleigh "Wilrnot was that she did not experience any 
sense of boredom in his presence. In fact it dissipated that 
ordinarily prevailing malady ; she was really interested in 
everything he talked about, really charmed by the manner in 
which he talked, and had »o need whatever to draw on the 
ever-ready resources of her manner and savoir faire. 

When "Wilrnot began to make his appearance freely 
among the small party at Kilsyth, and after the usual in- 


quiries — in which the serious and impressive tone at first 
observed waa gradually discarded — to enter into general con- 
versation, and to exercise all the very considerable powers 
which he possessed of making himself agreeable, Lady Muriel 
found out and admitted that this was the pleasantest time of 
the day. The interval between this discovery and her finding 
herself longing for the arrival of that time— dwelling upon 
all its incidents when she was alone, making it a central 
point in her life, in fact — was very brief. 

With this new feeling came all the keen perception, the 
close observation, and the nascent suspicion which could not 
fail to accompany it, in such a " thorough " organization as 
that of Lady Muriel. She began to take notice of every- 
thing concerning Wilmot, to observe all his ways, and to 
watch with jealous scrutiny the degree of interest he dis- 
played in all his surroundings at Kilsyth. 

As Madeleine progressed in her recovery, Lady Muriel 
looked for some decline in the physician's absorption in the 
interest of her case. He would be less punctual, less con- 
stant in his attendance upon her; he would be more sus- 
ceptible to influences from the outside world ; he would be 
anxious to get away perhaps — at least he would no longer 
be indifferent to professional duties elsewhere ; he would 
begin to weigh their respective claims, and would recognize 
the preponderance of those at a distance over that which he 
had already satisfied more than fully, more than conscien- 
tiously, with a fulness and expansion of sympathy and devo- 
tion rare indeed. 

"Wilmot was extremely popular among the little company 
at Kilsyth. Wonderfully popular, considering how much he 
was the intellectual superior of every man there ; but then 
he was one of those clever men who never make their talents 
obnoxious, and are not bent on forcing a perpetual recog- 
nition of their superiority from their associates. He allowed 
the people he was with to enjoy all the originality, wit, 


.knowledge, and good fellowship that was in him, and did not 
administer the least alloy of mortification to their pride with 
it. When Lady Muriel forcibly acknowledged to herself, 
and would as frankly have acknowledged to any one else, if 
anyone else would have asked her a question on the subject, 
that she held Dr "Wilmot to be the cleverest and most agree- 
able man she had ever met, she did but utter a sentiment 
which had found general expression among the party as- 
sembled at Kilsyth. 

As the days went by, Lady Muriel began to feel certain 
misgivings relative to "Wilmot. She did not quite like his 
look, his manner, when he spoke of Madeleine. She did not 
consider it altogether natural that he should never weary of 
Kilsyth's garrulity on the subject of his darling daughter. 
The physician, taking rest from his long and anxious watch, 
might well be excused if he had tired a little of questions and 
replies about every symptom, every variation, and of endless 
stories of the girl's childhood, and laudation of her beauty, her 
virtues, and her filial love and duty. But Dr Wilmot never 
tired of these things ; he would, on the contrary, bring back 
the discourse to them, if it strayed away, as it would do 
under Lady Muriel's direction ; and moreover she noticed, 
that no circumstances, no social temptation, had power to 
detain him a moment from his patient, when the time he had 
set for his return to her side had arrived. 

Taking all these things into consideration, and combining 
them with certain indications which she had noticed about 
Madeleine herself, Lady Muriel began to think the return of 
Dr Wilmot to London advisable, and to perceive in its being 
deferred very serious risk to her scheme for the endowment 
of her young kinsman with the hand and fortune of her step- 
daughter. She was not altogether comfortable about its 
success, to begin with. Ramsay Caird had not as yet made 
satisfactory progress in Madeleine's favour. It was not be- 
cause the girl had no power of loving in her that she had 


listened without the smallest shadow of emotion to Mr 
Eamsay Caird, but simply because Mr Eamsay Caird had 
not had the tact, or the talent, or the requisite qualifications, 
or the good fortuue to arouse the power of loving him in 
her. Lady Muriel was far too quick an observer, far too 
learned a student of human nature, not to read at a glance 
all that her step-daughter's looks revealed ; and her know- 
ledge of life at once informed her of the danger to her 
scheme. What was to be done ? Wilmot must be got rid 
of, must be sent away without loss of time. His business 
was over, and he must go. That must be treated as a matter 
of course.' He was called in as a professional man to exercise 
his profession ; and the necessity of any further exercise of 
it having terminated, his visit was necessarily at an end. 
No possible suspicion of her real reason for wishing to get 
rid of him could arise. A married man, of excellent reputa- 
tion, accustomed to being brought into the closest contact 
with women of all ages in the exercise of his profession — 
why, people would shout with laughter at the idea of her 
bringing forward any idea of his flirtation with a girl like 
Madeleine ! And Kilsyth himself — nothing, not even the 
influence which she possessed over him, would induce him 
for- an instant to believe any such story. It was very 
ridiculous ; it must be her own imagination ; and yet — 
No; there was. no mistaking it, that girl's look; she could 
see it even then. Even if Eamsay Caird were not in ques- 
tion, it was a matter which, for Madeleine's own sake, must 
be quietly but firmly put an end to. Immensely gratified 
by this last idea — for there is nothing which so pleases us as 
the notion that we can gratify our own inclinations and 
simultaneously do our duty, possibly because the opportu- 
nities so rarely arise — Lady Muriel sought her husband, and 
found him busily inspecting a new rifle which had just 
arrived from London. After praising his purchase, and talk-' 
ing over a few ordinary matters, Lady Muriel said shortly •. 


" By the way, Alick, how much longer are wo to be 
honoured by the company of Dr Wilmot ? " 

The inquiry seemed to take Kilsyth aback, more from 
the tone in which it was uttered than its purport, and he 
said hesitatingly, 

" Dr "Wilmot ! Why, my dear ? . He must stay as long 
as Madeleine — I mean — but have you any objection to his 
being here? " 

" I ! Not the least in the world ; only he seems to me 
to be in an anomalous position. Very likely his social 
talents are very great, but we get no advantage of them ; 
and as for his professional skill — for which, I suppose, he 
was called here — there is no longer any need of that. 
Madeleine is out of all danger, and is on the fair way to 

" You think so ? " 

" I'm sure of it. But, at all events, any doubt on that 
point could be dissipated by asking the Doctor himself." 

" My dearest Muriel, wouldn't that be a little brusque, 

" My dear Alick, you don't seem to see that very pro- 
bably this gentleman is wishing himself far away, but does 
not exactly know how to make his adieux. A man in a 
practice like Dr Wilmot's, however we may remunerate him 
for his visit here, and however agreeable it may be to him " 
(Lady Muriel could not resist giving way in this little bit), 
!1 must lose largely while attending on us. He is a gentle- 
man, and consequently too delicate to touch on such a 
point ; but it is one, I think, which should be taken into 

Lady Muriel had had too long experience of her husband 
not to know the points of his armour. The last thrust was 
a sure one, and went home. 

"I should be very sorry," said Kilsyth with a little ad- 
ditional colour in his bronzed cheeks, " to think that I was 


the cause of preventing Dr "Wilmot's earning more money, 
or advancing himself in his profession. "We owe him a 
deep debt of gratitude for what he has done ; but perhaps 
now, as you say, Madeleine is out of danger, and may be 
safely left to the care of Dr Joyce. I'll speak to Dr Wil- 
mot, my dear Muriel, and make it all right on that point." 



The effect of her husband's letter on Mrs "Wilmot's 
mind, strengthened by the view taken of its contents by 
Henrietta Prendergast, was of the most serious and in- 
jurious nature. Hitherto the unhappiness which had 
possessed her had been negative — had been literally ^hap- 
piness, the absence of joy ; but from the hour she read 
Wilmot's letter, and talked over it with her friend, all that 
was negative in her state of mind changed to the positive. 
Hitherto she had been jealous — -jealous as only a woman of 
a thoroughly proud, sensitive, secretive, and sullen nature 
can bo — of an abstraction. Her husband's profession was 
the lilr noir of her existence, was the barrier between her 
and the happiness for which she vainly longed and pined. 
She had looked around her, and seen other women whose 
husbands were also working bees in the world's great hive; 
but their work did not absorb them to the exclusion of 
h omo interests, and the deadening of the sweet and blessed 
sympathies which lent happiness all its glow, and robbed 
sorrow of half its gloom. Her husband had never spoken 
au unkind word to her in his life, had never refused her a 
request, or denied her a pleasure ; but he had never spoken 
a word to her which told her that the first p] ac e i n fo s ijf e 


was hers; he had never cared to anticipate a request or 
to share a pleasure. To a woman like Mabel Wilmot, in 
whose character there was a strong though wholly unsus- 
pected element of romance, there was an inexhaustible 
source of suffering in these facts, combined with her hus- 
band's proverbial devotion to his profession. Not a clever 
woman, thoroughly conventional in all her ideas, without a 
notion of the possibility of altering the routine of her life 
to any pattern which might take her fancy, a dreamer, and 
incurably shy, especially with him, who never discerned 
that there was anything beneath the surface of her placid, 
equable, rather cold manner to be understood, she had 
ample materials ^within herself for misery; and she had 
always made the most. of them. 

An incalculable addition had been made to her store by 
Wilmot's letter, and Henrietta Prendergast's comments. 
Mabel wrote to Mr Foljambe, under the observation and 
by the dictation of her friend, merely repeating the words 
of her husband's letter; and during that performance, and 
the ensuing conversation, she had felt sufficiently black and 
bitter to have satisfied any fiend who might have been 
waiting about for the chance of gratifying his malignity by 
the coming to grief of human affairs. But it was when she 
was left alone, when her friend had gone away, and she was 
in her solitary room — all the trivial occupations of the day 
at an end, and only the long hours of the night, often sleep- 
less hours to her, to be faced — that she gave way to the 
intensity of the bitterness of her spirit ; that she looked 
into and sounded the darkness and the depth of the gulf 
of sorrow which had opened before her feet. 

That her husband sought and found all his happiness 
in the duties of his profession ; that he had no conscious- 
ness, comprehension, or care for the disappointed feelings 
which occupied her wholly, had been hard enough to bear 
— how hard, the lonely woman who had borne the burden 


knew ; but such a state of things, the state from which only 
a few hours divided her, was happy in comparison with 
that which now opened suddenly before her. He had neg- 
lected her for the profession he preferred ; he was going to 
neglect his own interests, to depart from his accustomed 
law of life, to throw the best friend he had in the world over 
— for a woman : yes, a woman, a sick girl had done what 
she had failed to do : she had never swayed his judgment 
or turned him aside from a purpose for a moment ; and now 
he was changed by the touch of a more potent hand than 
hers, and there was an end of the old settled melancholy 
peacefulness of her life ; active wretchedness had come in, 
and the repose, dear-bought in its deadness of disappoint- 
ment and blight, was all gone. 

Mabel Wilmot sat opposite the long glass in her room 
that night, and turned the branch-candles so as to throw a 
full light upon her face, at which she gazed steadily and 
long, frowning as she did so. It was a fair face, and the 
fresh bloom of youth was still upon it. It was a face in 
which a skilful observer might have read strange matters ; 
but there were none curious to read the story in the face 
of the pretty wife of the prosperous rising man. Her eyes 
were soft and dark, well shaded by long lashes, and marked 
by finely-arched eyebrows ; and there were none to see 
that there was frequent gloom and brooding in their dark- 
ness — a shadow from the gloominess of the soul within. 
She was fair rather than pale, and had abundant dark hair ; 
and as she sat and gazed in the glass, she let its dusky masses 
loose, and caught them in her hands. The fair face was 
not pleasant to look upon ; and so she seemed to think, for 
she muttered : 

" She is very pretty, I suppose, and a great deal younger 
than I am; never looks sullen, and has no cause. And 
yet he's not a man I should have thought to have been be- 
guiled by any woman. I never beguiled him, and I was 


pretty in my time ; ay, and neio too ! Arid I havo lived in 
his sight .all these years, and he has never sacrificed an hour 
of time or thought to me. And now ho leaves me without 
hesitation, though I am ill. I have not talked about it, to 
he sure ; but what is his skill worth if he did not see it in my 
face and hear it in my voice without being told ! I was not a 
case — I was only his wife ; and he never thought of looking, 
never thought of caring whether I was ill or well. I ap- 
pear at breakfast, and I go out every day ; that's quite 
enough for him. I wonder if he knew what I suspect, 
what I should once have said 1 hope, is the cause ; but that 
is a long time ago. Would it have made any difference ? 
I don't mean now ; of course it would not now ; nothing 
makes any difference to a man when once his heart is turned 
aside, and quite filled by another. I don't think I ever 
touched his heart ; I know only too well I never filled 

Mabel Wilmot was right. She had never filled her 
husband's heart. She had touched it though, for a time 
and after a light holiday kind of fashion, which had sub- 
sided when life began in earnest for them, and which ho 
had laid aside and forgotten, as a boy might have abandoned 
and lost sight of the toys with which he had amused him- 
self during a school vacation. And the girl had been 
deceived ; had built silently in the jnveterately undemon- 
strative recesses of her heart and fancy a fairy palace, 
destined to stand for ever empty. It had been swept and 
garnished ; but the prince had never come to dwell there : 
he with busy feet had passed by on the other side, and she 
had nothing to do but to sit and mourn in the empty 
chambers. She had borne her grief valiantly until now ; 
she had only known the passive side of it. But that was 
all over for ever ; and the day that dawned after Wilmot's 
wife had received his letter found her a different woman 

from what she had been. 



"Are you sure you are not ill, Mabel?" asked Mrs 
Prendergast the day after their colloquy over the letter. 
" Tou are so black under the eyes, and your face is so 
pinched, I fancy you must be ill." 

"Not more so than usual," said Mrs "Wilmot shortly. 

" Than usual, my dear ! What do you mean ? Have 
you been feeling ill lately ? " 

"Yes, Henrietta, very ill." 

" And have you been doing nothing for yourself ? Have 
you not had advice ?" 

" Tou know I have not. Tou have seen me very nearly 
every day, and you know I have done nothing without your 

" But "Wilmot ? " said Mrs Prendergast. 

" Oh, Wilmot ! Much he knows and much he cares 
about me ! Don't talk nonsense, . Henrietta. If I were 
dying, he would not see it while I could keep on my feet, 
which I certainly should do as long as I could." 

" My dear Mabel," remonstrated Henrietta, " do you 
mean to tell me that, feeling very ill, you have actually suf- 
fered your husband to leave you ? Is that right, Mabel ? 
Is it right to yourself or fair to him ? " 

" Pair to him ! " returned Mrs Wilmot with a scornful 
emphasis. " The idea of anything I do being fair or unfair 
to Mm. I am so important to him, am I not ? His life is 
so largely influenced by me ? Really, Henrietta, I don't 
understand you." 

" O yes, you do," said her friend ; and she seated herself 
beside her, and took her feverish hands firmly in hers ; " you 
understand me perfectly. What is the illness, Mabel ? How 
do you suffer, and why are you concealing it ? "" 

"I suffer always, and in all ways," said Mabel, twitching 
her hands impatiently from her friend's grasp, and averting 
her face, down which tears began slowly to trickle. " I have 
not been well for a long time ; and would not one think that 


lie might have seen it ? He can he full of skill and percep- 
tion in every one's case hut mine." 

Henrietta Prendergast was troubled. She was a woman 
with an odd kind of conscience. So long as a fact did not 
come too forcibly before her, so long as a duty did not im- 
peratively confront her, she would ignore it ; but she would 
not do the absolutely, the undeniably wrong, nor leave the 
obviously and pressingly right undone. Here was a dilemma. 
She believed that "Wilmot's ignorance of his wife's state of 
health was solely the result of her own studious avoidance 
of complaint, or of letting him see, during the short periods 
of every day that they were together, that she was suffering 
in any May. Any man whose perceptions were not quickened 
by the inspiration of love would he naturally deceived by the 
calm tranquillity of Mrs "Wilmot's manner, which, if occasion- 
ally sullen, was apparently influenced in that direction by 
trivial causes, — household annoyances, and so forth. And 
though Henrietta Prendergast had a grudge against Chud- 
leigh "Wilmot, which was all the stronger and the more last- 
ing that it was utterly unreasonable, she could not turn a 
deaf ear to the promptings of her conscience, which told her 
she must speak the truth on his behalf now. 

" I must say, Mabel," she began, " that I think it is your 
fault that "Wilmot has not perceived your state of health. 
Tou have carefully concealed it from him, and now you are 
angry at your own success. Tou must not continue to 
act thus, Mabel ; you will destroy his happiness and your 

" Sis happiness ! " repeated Mrs "Wilmot with inde- 
scribable bitterness ; " his happiness and 2&wc.e I know 
nothing about his happiness, or what he has found it in hither- 
to, and may find it in for the future. I only know that it 
has nothing to do with mine ; and that I have no happiness, 
and never can have any now." 

The sullen conviction in Mabel Wilmot's voice impressed 


her friend painfully, and kept her silent for a while. Then 
she said : 

" You are unjust, Mabel. Tou have concealed your suf- 
fering and illness from me as effectually as from him." 

" Do you attempt to compare the cases ? " said Mrs 
Wilmot with a degree of passion extremely unusual to her, 
" I deny that they admit of comparison. However, there is 
an end of the subject ; let us talk of something else. If I 
am not better in a day or so, I can do as Mr Foljambe has 
had to do : I can call in Whittaker, or somebody else. It 
does not matter. Let us turn to some more agreeable 

And the friends talked of something else. They lunched 
together, and they went out driving ; they did some very 
consolatory shopping, and paid a number of afternoon calls. 
But Henrietta Prendergast watched her friend closely and 
unremittingly ; and came to the conclusion that she was 
really ill, and also that it was imperatively right her husband 
should be informed of the fact. Henrietta dined at Charles- 
street ; and when the two women were alone in the evening, 
and the confidence-producing tea-tray had been removed, she 
tried to introduce the interdicted subject. Ordinarily she 
was anything but a timid woman, anything but likely to be 
turned from her purpose ; but there was something new in 
Mabel's manner, a sad intensity and abstraction, which puz- 
zled and distressed her, and she had never in her life felt it 
so hard to say the things she had determined to say. 

Argument and persuasion Mrs "Wilmot took very ill; 
and at length her friend told her, in an accent of resolution, 
that she had made up her mind as to her own course of 

" It is wrong to leave Wilmot in ignorance, Mabel," she 
said ; " wrong to him and wrong to you. If only a little of 
all you have acknowledged to me were the matter with you, 
it would still be wrong to conceal it from him. If you will 


not tell him, I will. If you will not promise me to write to 
him to-night, I will write to him to-morrow. Mind, Mabel, 
I mean what I say ; and I will keep my word." 

Mrs Wilmot had been leaning, almost lying, back in a 
deep easy-cbair, when her friend spoke. She raised herself' 
slowly while she was speaking, her dark eyes fixed upon her, 
and when she had finished, caught her by the wrist. 

" If you do this thing, Henrietta, I most solemnly de- 
clare to you that I will never speak to you or see you again. 
In this, in all that concerns my husband 'and myself, I claim, 
I insist upon, perfect freedom of action. No human being 
— on my side at least — shall come between him and me. I 
am thoroughly in earnest in this, Henrietta. Now choose 
between him and me." 

" Choose between him and you ! What can you mean, 

" I know what I mean, Henrietta, and I am determined 
in this. "When you know all, you will see that only I can 
Bpeak to him ; and that I must speak, not write." 

" Then you will speak ? " 

" Tes, I will speak. I suppose he will return in a few 
days ; and then I will speak." 

Then Mabel Wilmot told her friend intelligence which 
surprised her very much, and they stayed together until late ; 
and when they parted Mrs Prendergast looked very thought- 
ful and serious. 

"This will make things either better or worse," she said 
to herself that night. " If he returns soon, and receives the 
news well, all may go on well afterwards ; but if he stays 
away for this girl's sake much longer, I don't think even the 
child will do any good." 

Many times within the next few days, in thinking of her 
friend, Mrs Prendergast said, " There's a desperation about 
her that I never saw before, and that I don't like." 


The days passed over, and Wilmot's patients were obliged 
either to content themselves with the attendance of the insinu- 
ating "Whittaker, or to exercise their own judgment and call 
in some other physician of their own choice. There was no 
doubt that the delay was injuring "Wilmot. He might have 
had his week's holiday, and passed it with Sir Saville Eowe, 
and welcome ; but he was not at Sir Saville's, and the week 
had long been over. As for Mr Eoljainbe, his indignation 
was extreme. 

" Hang it ! " he observed, " if Chudleigh can't come back 
when he might, why does he pretend to keep up a London 
practice ? And to send me Whittaker too ; a fellow I hate 
like — like colchicum. I suppose I can choose my doctoi 
for myself, can't I ? " 

Thus the worthy and irascible old gentleman, who was 
more attached to Chudleigh "Wilmot than to any other 
living being, would discourse to droppers-in concerning his 
absent favourite ; and as the droppers-in to the invalid 
room of the rich banker were numerous, and of the class to 
whom Wilmot was especially well known, the old gentle- 
man's talk led to somewhat wide and varied speculation on 
the causes and inducements of his absence. Mr Eoljambe 
had ascertained all the particulars which Wilmot had given 
his wife ; and Kilsyth of Kilsyth was soon a familiar phrase 
in connection with the rising man. Everybody knew where 
he was, and " all about it ; " and when the unctuous and 
deprecating Whittaker talked of the " specially interesting 
case " which was detaining Wilmot, glances of unequivocal 
intelligence, but of somewhat equivocal meaning, were in- 
terchanged among his hearers ; and guesses were made that 
Miss Kilsyth was a " doosed nice " girl, or her step-mother 
Lady Muriel, — " young enough to be Kilsyth's daughter, 
you know, and never lets him forget it, by Jove" — was a 
"doosed fine" woman. "The Kilsyths " began to be 
famous among Wilmot's clientele and the old banker's 


familiars ; the Peerage, lying on his book-shelves, and hither- 
to serenely undisturbed, with its covering of dust, was fre- 
quently in demand ; and young Lothbury, of Lombard, 
Lothbury, & Co., made quite a sensation when he informed 
a select circle of Mr Foljambe's visitors that he knew 
Eonald Kilsyth very well — was in his club in fact. 

" Old Kilsyth's son," he explained ; " a very good fellow 
in his way, and quite the gentleman, as he ought to be of 
course, but a queer-tempered one, and a bit of a prig." 

" Have you written to your husband, Mabel ? " said Mrs 
Prendergast with solemn anxiety, when the third week of 
Wilmot's absence was drawing to a close, and his wife's ill- 
ness had increased day by day, so that now it was a com- 
mon topic of conversation among their acquaintance. 

" No," returned Mabel, " I have not. I have told you I 
will not write, but speak to him ; and I am resolved." 

" But Whittaker ? Surely he does not know your hus- 
band is ignorant of your state ? " 

" O, dear no," returned Mrs Wilmot, with a smile by no 
means pleasant to see. " He is the j oiliest and simplest of 
men in all matters of this kind. Mrs Whittaker wouldn't, 
in fact couldn't, have a finger ache unknown to him ; and 
he never suspects that things are different with me." 

" Mabel," said her friend, "you do very, very wrong ; but 
I will not interfere or argue with you. Only, remember, I 
believe much will depend on your reception of him." 

" Don't be alarmed, Henrietta," said Mabel "Wilmot. 
" I promise you, unhesitatingly, that "Wilmot will not be 
dissatisfied with the reception he shall have from me." 




It was a good thing for Kilsyth that he had a soft, 
sweet, affectionate being like Madeleine on whom he could 
vent the fund of affection stored in his warm heart, and 
who could appreciate and return it. In the autumn of life, 
when the sad strange feeling first comes upon us, that we 
have seen the best of our allotted time, and that the remain- 
der of our pilgrimage must be existence rather than life ; 
when the ears which tingled at the faintest whisper of love 
know that they will never again hear the soft liquid lan- 
guage once so marvellously sweet to them ; when the heart 
which bounded at the merest promptings of ambition beats 
with unmoved placidity even as we recognize the victories of 
our juniors in the race ; when we see the hopes and cares 
and wishes which we have so long cherished one by one 
losing their sap and strength and verdure, one by one losing 
their hold on our being, and borne whirling away, lifeless and 
shrivelled, on the sighing wind of time, — we need be grateful 
indeed if we have anything so cheering and promiseful as a 
daughter's affection. It is the old excitement that has given 
a zest to life for so many years ; administered in a very mild 
form indeed, but still there. The boys are well enough, fine 
gentlemanly fellows, making their way in the world, well 
spoken of, well esteemed, doing credit to the parent stock, and 
taking — ay, there's the deuce of it ! — taking the place which 
we have vacated, and making us feel that we have vacated 
it. Their mere presence in the world brings to us the con- 
sciousness which arose dimly years ago, but which is very 
bright and impossible to blink now — that we no longer be- 
long to the present, to the generation by which the levers 
of the world are grasped and moved j that we are tolerated 


gently and genially indeed, with outward respect and with 
a certain amount of real affection; but that we are in 
effect rococo and bygone, and that our old-world notions are 
to be kindly listened to, not warmly adopted. Ulysses is 
all very well ; in fact, was a noted chieftain in his day, 
went through his wanderings with great pluck and spirit, 
had his adventures, dear old boy. You recollect that story 
about the Grrafinn von Calypso, and that scandalous story 
which was published in the Ogygian Satirist ?, But it is 
Telemachus who is the cynosure of Ithaca nowadays, whom 
we watch, and on whom we wait. But with a girl it is a 
very different matter. To her her father — until he is sup- 
planted by her husband — still stands on the old heroic pe- 
destal where, through her mother's interpretation, she saw 
him long since in the early days of her childhood ; in her 
eyes " age has not withered him, nor custom staled his infi- 
nite variety; " all his fine qualities which she was taught to 
love, — and how easily she learned the lesson ! — have but 
mellowed and improved with years. Her brothers, much 
as she may love them, are but faint copies of that great 
original ; their virtues and good qualities are but reflected 
lights of his — his the be-all and end-all of her existence ; 
and the love between him and her is of the purest and most 
touching kind. No tinge of jealousy at being supplanted 
by her sullies that great love with which he regards her, 
and which is free from every taint of earthiness ; towards 
her arises a chastened remembrance of the old love felt to- 
wards her mother, with the thousand softened influences 
which the old memories invest it with, combined with that 
other utterly indescribable affection of parent to child, which 
is one of the happiest and holiest mysteries of life. 

So the love between Kilsyth and his girl was the happi- 
ness of his existence, the one gentle bond of union between 
him and the outer world. For so large-hearted a man, he 
had few intimate relations with life ; looking on at it bene- 


volently, rather than taking part even in what it had to 
offer of gentleness and affection. This was perhaps because 
he was so thoroughly what is called " old-fashioned." Lady 
Muriel he honoured, respected, and gloried in. On the few 
occasions when he was compelled to show himself in Lon- 
don society, he went through his duty as though enjoying 
it as much as the most foppish Osric at the court ; sup- 
ported chiefly by the universal admiration which his wife 
excited, and not a little by the remembrance that another 
month would see him freed from all this confounded non- 
sense, and up to his waist in a salmon stream. There could 
be no terms of praise too warm for " my lady," who was in 
his eyes equally a miracle of talent and loveliness, to whom 
he always deferred in the largest as in the smallest matters 
of life ; but it was Madeleine 

' ; 

"who had power 
To soothe the sportsman in his softer hour." 

It was Madeleine who had his deepest, fondest love — a 
love without alloy ; pure, selfless, and eternal. 

These feelings understood, it may be imagined Kilsyth 
had the warmest feelings of gratitude and regard towards 
Dr "Wilmot for having, as every one in the house believed, 
and as was really the fact, saved the girl's life, partly by 
his skill, principally by his untiring watchfulness and devo- 
tion to her at the most critical period of her illness. In 
such a man as Kilsyth these feelings could not remain long 
unexpressed ; so that within a couple of days of the inter- 
view between Lady Muriel and Dr Wilmot, Kilsyth took 
an opportunity of meeting the doctor as he was taking his 
usual stretch on the terrace, and accosting him. 

" Good-morning, Dr "Wilmot ; still keeping to the ter- 
race as strictly as though you were on parole ? " 

" Good-morning to you. I'm a sanitarian, and get as 
much fresh air as I can with as little labour. This terrace 


Beeins to me the only level walking ground within eyeshot ; 
and there's no more preposterous mistake than overdoing 
exercise. Too much muscularity and gymnastics are amongst 
the besetting evils of the present day, depend upon it. 

" Very likely ; but I'm not of the present day, and 
therefore not likely to overdo it myself, or to tempt you 
into overdoing it. But still I want you to extend your 
constitutional this morning round to the left ; there's a 
path that skirts the craig-— a made path in the rock itself, 
merely broad enough for two of us to walk, and which has 
the double advantage that it gives us peeps of some of the 
best scenery hereabouts ; and it is so little frequented, that 
it will give us every chance of uninterrupted conversation. 
And I want to talk to you about Madeleine." 

Whatever might have been Chudleigh "Wilmot's previous 
notions as to the pleasure derivable from an extended 
walk with the old gentleman, the last word decided him ; 
and they started off at once. 

" I won't pretend to conceal from you, Dr "Wilmot," said 
Kilsyth, after they had proceeded some quarter of a mile, 
talking on indifferent subjects, and stopping now and then 
to admire some point in the scenery, — " I won't pretend to 
conceal from you, that ever since your arrival here I have had 
misgivings as to the manner in which you were first sum- 
moned. I — " 

" Pray don't think of that, sir." 

"I don't — any more than, I am sure, you do. My 
Madeleine, who is dearer to me than life, was, I knew, in 
danger. I heard of your being in what one might almost 
call the vicinity from Duncan Forbes ; and without thought 
or hesitation I at once telegraphed to you to come on 

" Thereby giving me the pleasantest holiday I ever en- 
joyed in my life, and enabling me to start away, as I was on 
the point of doing, with the agreeable reflection that I have 


been of some comfort to some most kind and charming 

" I am delighted to hear you say those friendly words, 
Dr Wilmot ; but I am not convinced even now. So far as 
— as the honorarium is concerned, I hope you will allow me 
to make that up to you ; so that you shall have no reminder 
in your banker's book that you have not been in full London 
practice ; and as to the feeling beyond the honorarium, I can 
only say that you have earned my life-long gratitude, and 
that I should be only too glad for any manner of showing it." 

Wilmot waited a minute before he said, " My dear sir, if 
there is anything I hate, it is conventionality; and I am 
horribly afraid of being betrayed into a set speech just now. 
With regard to the latter part of your remarks, your gratitude 
for any service I may have been to you cannot be surpassed 
by mine ft$r my introduction to my charming patient and 
your delightful family circle. With regard to what you were 
pleased to say about the honorarium, you must be good 
endugh to do as I shall do — forget you ever touched upon 
the subject. Tou don't know our professional etiquette, my 
dear sir — that when a man is on a holiday he does no work. 
Nothing on earth would induce me to take a fee from you. 
Tou must look upon anything I have done as a labour of 
love on my part ; and I should lose all the pleasure of my 
visit if I thought that that visit had not been paid as a friend 
rather than as a professional man." 

Kilsyth must have changed a great deal from his former 
self if these words had not touched his warm generous heart. 
Tears stood in his bright blue eyes as he wrung Chudleigh 
Wilmot's hand, and said, " You're a fine fellow, Doctor ; a 
great fellow altogether. I'm an old man now, and may say 
this to you without offence. Be it as you will. God knows, 
no man ever left this house carrying with him so deep a debt 
of its owner's gratitude as will hang round you. Now as to 
Madeleine. You're off, you say, and I can't gainsay your 


departure; for I know you've been detained here far too 
long for the pursuance of your own proper practice, which is 
awaiting you in London ; and I feel certain you would not 
go if you felt that by your going you would' expose her to 
any danger of a relapse. But I confess I should like to hear 
from your own lips just your own candid opinion about her." 
Now or never, Chudleigh "Wilmot ! No excuse of mis- 
comprehension ! Tou have examined yourself, probed the 
inmost depths of your conscience in how many midnight 
vigils, in how many solitary walks ! Tou know exactly the 
state of your feelings towards this young girl ; and it is for 
you to determine whether you will renounce her for ever, or 
continue to tread that pleasant path of companionship — so 
bright and alluring in its present, so dark and hopeless in 
its future — along which you have recently been straying. 
Professional and humanitarian considerations ? Are you in- 
fluenced by them alone, when you reply — 

"My dear sir, you ask me rather a difficult question. 
Were I speaking of your daughter's recovery from the disease 
under which she has been labouring, I should say with the 
utmost candour that she has so far recovered as to be com- 
paratively well. But I should not be discharging my pro- 
fessional duty — above all, I should not be worthy of that 
trust which you have reposed in my professional skill, and of 
the friendship with which you have been so good as to honour 
me — if I disguised from you that during my constant at- 
tendance on Miss Kilsyth, and during the examinations 
which I have from time to time made of her system, I have 
discovered that — that she has another point of weakness 
totally disconnected from that for which I have been treat- 
ing her." 

He was looking straight into the old man's eyes as he 
said this — eyes which dropped at the utterance of the words, 
then raised themselves again, dull, heavy-lidded, with all the 
normal light and life extinguished in them. 


" I heard something of this from Muriel, from Lady 
Muriel, from my wife," muttered Kilsyth ; " but I shouid 
like to know from you the exact meaning of your words. 
Don't be afraid of distressing me, Doctor," he added, after a 
short pause ; " I have had in my time to listen to a sentence 
as hard — almost as hard " — his voice faltered here — " as any 
7ou could pronounce ; and I have borne up against it with 
tolerable courage. So speak." 

" I have no hard, at least no absolute, sentence to pro- 
nounce, my dear sir ; nothing that does not admit of much 
mitigation, properly taken and properly treated. Miss El- 
syth is not a hoyden, you know ; not one of those buxom 
young women who, according to Trench notions, are to be 
found in every English family — " 

"No, no!" interrupted the old gentleman a little 

" On the contrary, Miss Kilsyth's frame is delicate, and 
her constitution not particularly strong. Indeed, in the 
course of my investigation during her recent illness, I dis- 
covered that her left lung was not quite so healthy as it 
might be." 

" Her lungs ! Ah, good heavens ! I always feared that 
would be the weak spot." 

" Are any of her family so predisposed ? " 

" One brother died of rapid consumption." 

"Ay, indeed! Well, well, there's nothing of that kind 
to be apprehended here,— at least there are no urgent 
symptoms. But it is only due to you and to myself to tell 
you that the lungs are Miss Kilsyth's weak point, and that 
every care should be exercised to ward off the disease which 
at present, I am happy to say, is only looming in the distance." 

"And what should be the first step, Dr "Wilmot ? " 

" Removal to a softer climate. You have a London house, 
I know ; when do you generally make a move south ? " 

" Lady Muriel and the children usually go south in Oc» 


tober, — about five weeks from lience, — and I go down to an 
old friend in Yorkshire for a month's cover-shooting. But 
this is an exceptional year, and anything you advise shall be 

" My advice is very simple ; it is, that you so far make an 
alteration in your usual programme as to put Miss Kilsyth 
into a more congenial climate at once. This air is beginning 
now to be moist and raw in the mornings and evenings, and 
at its best is now unfit for any one with delicate lungs." 

" Would London do ? " 

" London would be a great improvement on Kilsyth — 
though of course it's treason to say so." 

"Then to London she shall go at once ; and I hope you 
will allow me the pleasure of anticipating that my daughter, 
when there, will have the advantage of your constant super- 

" Anything I can do for Miss Kilsyth shall be done, you 
may depend on it, my dear sir. And now I want . to say 
good-bye to you, and to you. alone. I have a perfect horror 
of adieux, and dare not face them with women. So you will 
make my farewell to Lady Muriel, thanking her for all the 
kindness and hospitality ; and — and you will tell Miss Kil- 
syth — that I shall hope to see her soon in London ; and — so 
Grod bless you, my dear sir, au revoir on the flags of Pall- 

Half an hour afterwards he was gone. He had made all 
his arrangements, ordered his horses, and slipped away while 
all the party was engaged, and almost before his absence 
from the luncheon-table was remarked. He knew that the 
road by which he would be driven was not overlooked by 
the dining-room where the convives would be assembled ; but 
he knew well enough that it was commanded by one par- 
ticular window, and to that window he looked up with flash- 
ing eyes and beating heart. He caught a momentary glimpse 
of a pale face surrounded by a nimbus of golden hair ; a pale 



face on which was an expression of sorrowful surprise, and 
which, as he raised his hat, shrunk back out of sight, without 
having given him the smallest sign of recognition. That 
look haunted Ohudleigh Wilmot for days and days ; and 
while at first it distressed him, on reflection brought him no 
little comfort, thinking, as he did, that had Madeleine had 
no interest in him, her expression of face would have been 
simply conventional, and she would have nodded and bowed 
as to any ordinary acquaintance. So he fed his mind on that 
look, and on certain kindly little speeches which she had 
made to him from time to time during her illness ; and when 
he wanted a more tangible reminiscence of her, he took from 
his pocket-book a blue ribbon with which she had knotted 
her hair during the earlier days of her convalescence, and 
which, when she fell asleep, he had picked from the ground 
and carefully preserved. 

Bad symptoms these, Chudleigh Wilmot ; very bad 
symptoms indeed ! Bad and easily read ; for there shall be 
no gawky lad of seventeen years of age, fresh from the 
country, to join your class at St Vitus's, who, hearing them 
described, shall not be able to name the virulent disease from 
which you are suffering. 

When Lady Muriel heard the result of her husband's 
colloquy with the Doctor, she was variously affected. She 
had anticipated that Ohudleigh Wilmot would take the first 
opportunity of making his escape from Kilsyth, where his 
presence was no longer professionally needed, while his pa- 
tients in London were urgent for his return. Nor was she 
surprised when her husband told her that Dr Wilmot had, 
when interrogated, declared that the air of Kilsyth was far 
too sharp for Madeleine in her then condition, and that it 
«^as peremptorily necessary that she should be moved south, 
Say to London, at once. Only one remark did she make on 
i&is point : " Did Madeleine's removal to London — I mean 


did the selection of London spring from you, Alick, or Dr 
Wilinot ? " 

" From me, dear — at least I asked whether London 
would do ; and he said, at all events London would be in- 
finitely preferable to Kilsyth ; and so knowing that we should 
have the advantage of his taking charge of Madeleine, I 
thought it would be best for us to get away to Eutland-gate 
as soon as possible." 

To which Lady Muriel replied, " Tou were quite right ; 
but it will take at least a week before all our preparations 
will be complete for leaving this place and starting south." 

Lady Muriel Kilsyth did not join any of the expeditions 
which were made up after luncheon that day ; the rest of 
the company went away to roaring linns or to heather-covered 
mountains ; walked, rode, drove ; made the purple hills' re- 
Bound with laughter excited by London stories, and flirted 
with additional vigour, though perhaps without the subtlety 
imparted by the experience of the season. But Lady Muriel 
went away to her own room, and gave herself up to thought. 
She had great belief in the efficacy of "thinking out " any- 
thing that might be on her mind, and she resorted to the 
practice on this occasion. Her course was by no means 
clear or straightforward, but a little thorough application to 
the subject would soon show her the way. Let her look at 
it in all its bearings, and slur over no salient point. This 
man, this Dr "Wilmot — well, he was wondrously fascinating, 
that she must allow ! His eyes, his earnestness of manner, 
his gravity, and the way in which he slid from grave to gay 
topics, as his face lit up, and his voice — ah, that voice, so 
mellow, so rich, so clear, and yet so soft, and capable of such 
exquisite modulation ! The remembrance of that face, only 
so recently known, has stopped the current of Lady Muriel's 
thoughts: she sits there in the low-backed chair, her chin 
resting on her breast, her hands clasped idly before her, her 
eyes vaguely looking on the fitfully flaming logs upon the 



hearth. "Wondrously fascinating ; in. his mere earnestness 
so different from the men, young and old, amongst whom 
her life was passed ; by whom, if thought were possible to 
them, it was held as something to be ashamed of, while 
frivolity resulting in vice ruled their lives, and frivolity gar- 
nished with slang governed their conversation. Wondrously 
fascinating ; in the modesty with which he exercised the great 
talent he possessed, and the possession of which alonejvould 
have turned the head of a weaker man ; in his brilliant 
energy and calm strength ; in his unwitting superiority to 
all around him, and the manner in which, apparently uncon- 
sciously and without the smallest display, he took his place 
in the front rank, and, no matter who might be present, 
drew rapt attention and listening ears to himself. So much 
for him. Now for herself. And Lady Muriel rose from the 
soft snuggery of her cushioned chair, and folded her arms 
across her breast, and began pacing the room with hurried 
steps. This man had established an influence over her? 
Agreed. What was worse, established his influence without 
intending it, without absolutely wishing it ? Agreed again. 
Lady Muriel was far too clever a woman to shirk any item 
or gloss over any replies to her cross-examination of herself. 
And was she, who had hitherto steered her way through life, 
avoiding all the rocks and shoals and quicksands on which 
she had seen so much happiness wrecked, so much hope in- 
gulfed — was she now to drift on for the same perilous voy- 
age, without rudder or compass, without even a knowledge 
whether the haven would be open to her ? Not she. For 
her husband's, for her own sake, for her own and her chil- 
dren's credit, she would hold the course she had held, and 
play the part she had played. A shudder ran through her 
as she pictured to herself the delight with which the thou- 
sand-and-one tongues of London scandal would whisper and 
chuckle over the merest hint that their prophecy of years 
since was beginning to be fulfilled — how the faintest breath 


of suspicion with which a name could be coupled would fly- 
over the five miles of territory where Fashion reigns. She 
stopped before the glass, put her hand to her heart, and saw 
herself pale and trembling at the mere idea. 

And yet to be loved ! Only for once in her life to know 
that she loved and was loved again, not by a man whom she 
could tolerate, but by one whom she could look up to and 
worship. Not reverence — that was not the word ; she re- 
verenced Kilsyth — but whose intellect she could respect, 
whose self she could worship. Oh, only for once in her life 
to experience that feeling which she had read so much about 
and heard so much of; to feel that she was loved heart and 
soul and body ; loved with wild passion and calm devotion 
— for such a man as this was capable of both feelings 
simultaneously — loved for herself alone, independently of all 
advantages of state and position ; loved by the most lovable 
man in the world. Loved ! the word itself was tabooed 
amongst the women with whom she lived, as being too strong 
and expressive. They 'liked ' certain men in a calm, easy, 
laissez-aller kind of way at the height of their passion ; then 
married them, with proper amount of bishop, bridesmaid, 
and wedding present, all duly celebrated in the fashionable 
journal; and then "gave up to parties what was meant for 
mankind." Ah, the difference between such an existence 
and that passed as this man's wife ! cheering him in his work, 
taking part in his worries, lightening his difficulties, always 
ready with a smiling face and bright eyes to welcome him 
home, and — Jealous ? Not she ! there would be no such 
feeling with her in such a case. Jealous ! And as the 
thought rose in her mind, simultaneously appeared the blue 
eyes and the golden hair of her step-daughter. 

That must be nipped in the bud at once ! There was 
nothing on Dr Wilmot's part — probably there might be no- 
thing on either side ; but sentimental friendship of that kind 
generally had atrociously bad results ; and Madeleine was a 


very impressionable girl, and now, as Kilsyth had determined, 
was to be constantly thrown with "Wilmot, to be under his 
charge during her stay in London, and therefore likely to 
have all her thoughts and actions influenced by him. Such 
a combination of circumstances would be necessarily hazard- 
ous, and might be fatal, if prompt measures were not taken 
for disposing of Madeleine previously. This could only be 
done by making Earn say Caird declare himself. Why that 
young man had never prospered in his suit was inexplicable 
to Lady Muriel ; he was not so good-looking as poor Stewart 
certainly — not one-tenth part so intense — having an excellent 
constitution, and looking at life through glasses of the most 
roseate hue; but Madeleine was young and inexperienced 
and docile— at least comparatively docile even to Lady 
Muriel, who, as she knew perfectly well, possessed very little 
of the girl's love ; and it was through her affection that she 
must be touched. "Who could touch her ? Not her father : 
he was too much devoted to her to enter into the matter ; at 
least in the proper spirit. "Who else then ? Ah, Lady 
Muriel smiled as a happy thought passed through her mind. 
Eonald, Madeleine's brother, — he was the person to exercise 
influence in a right and proper way over his sister ; and to 
him she would write at once. 

That night the butler took two letters from the post-box 
in Lady Muriel's handwriting ; one of them was addressed 
to Eamsay Caird, in George-street, Edinburgh, and ran thus : 

" Kilsyth. 
" My dear Eamsay, — Eor reasons which I have already 
sufficiently explained to you, you will, I think, be disposed 
to admit that my interest in you and your career is unques- 
tionable, and you will be ready to take any step which I may 
strongly urge upon you. In this conviction, I feel sure that 
you will unhesitatingly adopt the suggestion which I now 
make, and start for London at the very earliest opportunity. 



You will be surprised at this recommendation, and at the 
manner in which I press it ; hut, believe me, I do not act 
without much reflection, and without thorough conviction of 
the step I am taking, and which I am desirous you should 
take. I have so often talked the matter over with you, that 
there is no necessity for me to enter upon it now, even if 
there were no danger in my so doing. It will be sufficient 
to say that we all go to London in a week's time, and that it 
is specially desirable that you should be there at the same 
time ; otherwise you may find the ground mined beneath 
your feet. "When you arrive in town, I wish you to call 
upon Captain Kilsyth at Knightsbridge Barracks. You will 
find him particularly clear-headed, and thoroughly conversant 
with the ways of the world ; and I should advise you to be 
guided by him in everything, but specially in the matter in 
question. Let me have a line to say you are on the point of 
starting ; and believe me 

" Your sincere friend, 

" Miteiel Kilsyth." 

The other letter was addressed to " Captain Kilsyth, 
First Life-guards, Knightsbridge Barracks, London." 

"■{Confidential.) Kilsyth. 

" My. deab Eonald, — You have heard from your father 
of Madeleine's illness and convalescence. She is rapidly re- 
covering her strength, and will_ be her old self physically very 

"You smile as you see that the word 'physically' is un- 
derlined; but this is. not, believe me, one of those ' unmean- 
ing women's dashes ' which I have so often heard you un- 
equivocally condemn. I underlined the word specially, 
because I think that Madeleine's recovery will be, so far as 
she is concerned, physical, and physical only. 

" Not that I mean in the least that her reason has been 


affected, otherwise than it always is most transiently in the 
access of fever; but that I think that the occasion which 
you and I have so often talked of has come, and come in a 
most undeniable manner. In a word, Madeleine has lost her 
heart, if I am not much mistaken, and lost it in a quarter 
where she herself, poor child, can hope for no return of her 
affection, and where, even if such return were possible, it 
would only bring misery on her, and Mm, and degradation to 
us all. 

" We are coming to London at once, and therein lies 
simultaneously the danger to Madeleine and my hope of 
rescuing her from it, principally through your aid. You will 
see that is impossible to enter upon this subject at length in 
a letter ; but I could not let you be in ignorance of what I 
know will possess an acute and painful interest for you. Of 
course I have not hinted a word of this to your father, so 
that you will be equally reticent in any of your communica- 
tions with him. You shall hear the day we expect to arrive 
in town, and I hope to see you in Brook-street on the next 

" Yon will recollect all I said to you about Ramsay Caird. 
He will probably call on you very shortly after you receive 
this letter. Bear in mind the cue I gave you, when we last 
parted, about this young man, and act up to it : he is a little 
weak, a little hesitating ; but I am more convinced than ever 
of the advisability of pursuing the course I then indicated. 
Grod bless you ! 

" Your affectionate 

"M. K." 




When Ronald Kilsyth, was little more than four years 
old his nurses said he was " so odd ; " a phrase which stuck 
by him through life. As a child his oddity consisted in his 
curious gravity, and preoccupation, his insensibility to amuse- 
ment, his dislike of companionship, his love of solitude, his 
old-fashioned thoughts and manner and habits. He had a 
dogged honesty which prevented him from using the smallest 
deception in any way, which prevented him from ever pre- 
varicating or telling those small fibs which are made so much, 
of in the child, but to which he looks back as trivial sins 
indeed when compared with the duplicity of his after-life, — 
which rendered him obnoxious even to the children whom 
he met as playfellows in the square-garden, and who found it 
impossible to get on with young Kilsyth on account of the 
rigidity of his morals, displeasing to them even at their 
tender years. "When a delicious guet-apens, made of string 
stretched from tree to tree, had been, with great consump- 
tion of time and trouble, prepared for the downfall of the old 
gardener ; and when the youthful conspirators were all laid 
up in ambush behind the Portugal laurels, waiting to see the 
old man, plodding round with rake and leaf-basket in the 
early dusk of the autumnal evening, fall headlong over the 
snare, — it was provoking to see little Ronald Kilsyth, in his 
gray kilt, step out and go up to the old man and show him 
the pitfall, and assist him in removing it. The conspirators 
were highly incensed at this treachery, as they called it, and 
would have sent Ronald then and there to Coventry, — not 
that that would have distressed him much, — had it not been 
for his magnanimity in refusing, even when under pressure, 
to give up the names of those in the plot. But as in this, 


so in everything else ; and the little frequenters of the square 
soon found Eonald Kilsyth " too good " for them, and 
were by no means anxious to secure his companionship in 
their sports. 

At Eton, whither he was sent so soon as he arrived at the 
proper age, he very shortly obtained the same character. 
Pursuing the strict path of duty, — industrious, punctual, and 
regular, with very fair abilities, and scrupulously mating the 
most of them, — he never lost an opportunity and never made 
a friend. All that was good of him his masters always said ; 
but they stopped there ; they never said anything that was 
kind. In school they could not help respecting him ; out of 
school they would as soon have thought of making Eonald 
Kilsyth their companion as of taking Hind's Algebra for 
pleasant reading. And it was the same with his schoolfellows. 
They talked of his steadiness and of his hard-working with 
pride, as reflecting on themselves and the whole school. 
They speculated as to what he would do in the future, and 
how he would show that the stories that had been told about 
Eton were all lies, don't you know ? and how Kilsyth would 
go up to Cambridge, and show them what the best public 
school — the only school for English gentlemen, you know — 
could do ; and Moreat. Etona, and all that kind of thing, old 
fellow. But Eonald Kilsyth, during the whole of his Eton 
pupilage, never had a chum — never knew what it was to 
share a confidence, add to a pleasure, or lighten a grief. Did 
he feel this ? Perhaps more acutely 'than could have been 
imagined; but being, as he was, proud, shy, sensitive, and 
above all queer, he took care that no one knew what his 
feelings were, or whether he had any at all on the subject. 

Queer ! that was the word by which they called him at 
Eton, and which, after all, expressed his disposition better 
than any other. Strong-minded, clear-headed, generous, and 
brave, with an outer coating of pride, shyness, reserve, and a 
mixture of all which passed current for hauteur. With a 

RONALD. 107 

strong contempt for nearly everything in which his con- 
temporaries found pleasure, — save in the excess of exercise, 
as that he thoroughly understood and appreciated, — and 
with a wearying desire to find pleasure for himself ; with an 
impulse to exertion and work, accountable to himself only on 
the score of duty, but having no definite end or aim ; with a 
restless longing to make his escape from the thraldom of 
conventionality, and rush off and do something somewhere 
far away from the haunts of men. With all the morbidness 
of the hero of LoeJcsley Hall, without the excuse of having 
been jilted, and without any of the experience of that sweetly 
modulated cynic, Ronald Kilsyth, obeying his father's wish, 
and thereby again following the path of duty, was gazetted 
to the Life-Guards — the exact position for a young gentleman 
in his condition. 

The donning of a scarlet tunic instead of a round jacket, 
and the substitution of a helmet for a pot-hat, made very 
little difference in Eonald. Several of his brother officers 
had known him personally at Eton, so that the character he 
had obtained there preceded him, inspiring a wholesome awe 
of him before he appeared on the scene ; and he had not 
been two days in barracks before -he was voted a prig and 
a bore. There was no sympathy between the dry, pedantic, 
rough young Scotsman and those jolly genial youths. His 
hard, dry, handsome, clean-cut face, with its cold gray eyes, 
thin aquiline nose, and tight lips, cast a gloom over the 
cheery mess-table around which they sat ; their jovial beam- 
ing smiles, and curling moustaches, and glittering shirt-studs 
reflected in the silver epergne, with its outposts of mounted 
sentries and its pleasant mingling of feasting and frays at the 
Temple of Mars and the London Tavern. His grim presence 
robbed many a pleasant story of its point, which indeed, in 
deference to him, had to be softened down or given with 
bated breath. The young fellows — no younger than him in 
years, but with, oh, such an enormous gulf between them as 


regards their elasticity and charm of youth — were afraid of 
him, and from fear sprung dislike. They had not much fear 
of their elders, these youths of ingenuous countenance and 
ingenuous modesty. They had a wholesome awe, tempering 
their hearty love, of Colonel Jefferson ; but less on account 
of the strictness of his discipline and of a certain noli-me- 
tangere expression towards those whom he did not specially 
favour, than on account of his age ; and as for the jolly old 
Major, who had been in the regiment for ever so many 
years, — for him they had neither fear nor respect ; and when 
he was in command — which befell him during the cheerful 
interval between July and December — the lads did as they 

But they could not get on with Ronald Kilsyth ; and 
though they tolerated him quietly for the sake of his people, 
they never could be induced to regard him with anything 
like the fraternal good fellowship which they entertained 
towards each other. As it had been at Eton, so it was at 
Knightsbridge, at "Windsor, in Albany-street, in all those 
charming quarters where the Household Cavalry spend their 
time for their own and their country's advantage. Ronald 
Kilsyth was respected by all, loved by none. Charley 
Jefferson himself, fascinated as he was by Ronald's devotion 
to the mysteries of drill and by all the young man's unswerv- 
ing attention to his regimental duties — qualities which 
weighed immensely with the martinet Colonel — had been 
heard to confess, with a prolonged twirl at his grizzled 
moustache, that " Kilsyth was a d — d hard nut to crack," — 
an enigmatic remark which, from so plain a speaker as the 
Colonel, meant volumes. The Major, whom Ronald, under 
strong provocation, had once designated a " tipsy old atheist," 
had, in the absence of his enemy and under the influence of 
two-thirds of a bottle of brandy, retorted in terms which 
were held to justify both Ronald's epithets ; and the men 
nad a very low opinion of him, who at the time of writing 

RONALD. 109 

was senior lieutenant of the regiment. He had no sympathy 
■with the men, no care for them ; he would have liked to 
have made them more domestic, less inclined for the public- 
house and the music-hall ; he would have subscribed to 
reading-rooms, to institutes, to anything for their mental 
improvement ; but he never thought of giving them a kind 
word or an encouraging speech ; and they much preferred 
Cornet Bosky — who cursed them roundly for their talking, 
for their silence, for their going too fast, for their going too 
slow, for their anything in fact, on those horrible mornings 
when he happened to be in charge of them exercising their 
horses, but who off duty always had a kindly word, an open 
purse at their service — to the senior lieutenant, who never 
used a bad expression, and who, as they confessed, was, after 
the Colonel, the best soldier in the regiment. 

It was like going into a different world to leave the 
smoky atmosphere, the wild disorder, and reckless confusion 
of most of the other rooms in barracks, and go into Donald 
Kilsyth's trim orderly apartment. Instead of tables ringed 
with stains of long-since-emptied tumblers, and littered with 
yellow-paper-covered French novels, torn playbills, old gloves, 
letters, unpaid bills, opera-glasses, pipes, shreds of tobacco, 
heaps of cigar-ash, rolls of comic songs, trophies from 
knock'em-downs at race-courses, empty soda-water bottles, 
scattered packs of cards, and such-like examples of free living 
— to find perfect order and decorum ; the walls covered with 
movable bookcases filled with valuable books, Raphael 
Morghen prints, proofs before letters after the best modern 
artists, and charming bits of water-colour sketches, instead 
of coloured daubs of French ecuyeres and lionnes of the 
Quartier Breda, photographs of Roman temple or Pompeian 
excavation, and Venetian glass and delicate eggshell china, 
and Chinese carving, and Indian beadwork. They used to 
look round at these things in wonder, the other young fellows 
of the regiment, when they penetrated into Ronald's room, 


and point to tKe pictures and ask who " that, queer old party 
was," and depreciate the furniture by inquiring " what wa8 
that old rubbish ? " They could not understand his friends 
either ; men asked to the mess by them or seen in their 
rooms were generally well known in the Household Brigade, 
other officers in the Blues or the Foot Regiments, or idlers 
and dawdlers with nothing to do, men in the Treasury or 
Foreign Office, people whom they were safe to meet in society 
at least every other night in the season. But Ronald Kilsyth's 
guests were of a different stamp. Sometimes he brought 
Wrencher the novelist or Scumble the Royal Academician to 
dinner ; and the fellows who knew the works of both made 
much of the guests and did them due honour ; but when 
occasionally they had to receive Jack Mokes the journalist, 
who looked on washing as an original sin, or Dick Tinto the 
painter, who regarded a dirty brown velvet shooting-coat as 
the proper costume for the evening, or Klavierspieler the 
pianist, a fat dirty German in spectacles, who made a perfect 
Indian juggler of himself in trying to swallow his knife 
during dinner — they were scarcely so much gratified. Innate 
gentlemanliness and entire good -breeding made them receive 
the gentlemen with every outward sign of hospitality ; but 
afterwards, round the solemn council fire in the little mess- 
room and midst deep clouds of tobacco-smoke, they delivered 
a verdict anything but complimentary either to guest or 

What possessed him ? That was what they could not 
understand. Nicest people in the world, sir I father, dear 
delightful jolly old fellow, give you his heart's blood if you 
wanted it — but you don't want it, so gives the best glass of 
claret in London ; and at home — at Kilsyth — 'gad, you can't 
conceive it; no country-house to be named in the same 
breath with it. Perfect shooting and all that kind of thing, 
and thoroughly your own master, by Jove ! do just as you 
like, I mean to say, and have everything you want, don't you 


Know ! Lady Muriel quite charming ; holding her own, 
don't you know, with all the younger women in point of 
attractiveness and that sort of thing, and yet respected and 
looked up to, and the best mistress of a house possible. And 
Miss Kilsyth, Madeleine, deuced nice little girl ; very pretty, 
and no nonsense about her ; meant for some big fish ! Well, 
yes, suppose so ; but meantime extremely pleasant and 
chatty, and sings nice little songs and valses splendidly, and 
all that kind of thing. That was what they said of the 
Kilsyth menage in the Household Brigade, in which pleasant 
joyous assemblage of gallant freethinkers it would have been 
difficult to point out one who would not have been delighted 
at an autumn visit to Kilsyth. Ah ! what we believe and 
that we know ! The humorous articles of the comic writers, 
the humorous sketches of the comic artists, lead us to think 
that the gentlemen officers of the regiments specially ac- 
credited for London service are, in the main, good-looking, 
handsome dolts, who pull their moustaches, eliminate the 
" r's " from their speech, and are but the nearest removes 
from the inmates of Hanwell Asylum. But a very small 
experience will serve to remove this impression, and will lead 
one to know that the reading and appreciation of character 
is nowhere more aptly read and more shrewdly hit upon than 
in the barrack-rooms of Knightsbridge or the Begent's Park. 
People who knew, or thought they knew, Bonald Kilsyth, 
declared that he was solitary and oyster-like, self-contained, 
and caring for no one but himself. They were wrong. 
Bonald had strong home affections. He loved and reverenced 
his father more than any one in the world. He saw plainly 
enough the few shortcomings — the want of modern education, 
the excessive love of sport, the natural indolence of his dis- 
position, and the intense desire to shirk all the responsibilities 
of his position, and to shift the discharge of them on to some 
one else. But equally he saw his father's warm-heartedness, 
honour, and chivalry; his unselfishness, his disposition to 


look upon the bright side of all that happened, his cheery 
ionliomie, and his unfailing good temper. Lady Muriel he 
regarded with feelings of the highest respect — respect which 
he had often tried to turn into affection, but had tried in 
vain. With a woman's quickness, Lady Muriel had seen at 
a glance, on her first entering the Kilsyth family, that her 
hardest task would be to win over her stepson, and she had 
laid herself out for that victory with really far more care and 
pains than she bad taken to captivate his father. With 
great natural shrewdness, quickened by worldly experience, 
Lady Muriel very shortly made herself mistress of Ronald 
Kilsyth's character, and laid her plans accordingly. Never 
was shaft more truly shot, never was mine more ingeniously 
laid. Ronald Kilsyth, boy as he was at the time of his 
father's second marriage, had scarcely had three interviews 
with his stepmother before she found a corroboration of the 
fact which had so often whispered itself in his own bosom, 
that he, and he alone, was the guiding spirit of the family ; 
that he had knowledge and experience beyond his years : and 
that if she, Lady Muriel, only got him, Eonald, to cooperate 
with her, everything would be smooth, and between them 
the felicity and well-being of all would be assured. It was a 
deft compliment, and it succeeded. From that time forth 
Ronald Kilsyth was Lady Muriel's most pliant instrument 
and doughtiest champion. In the circles in which during 
the earlier phases of his succeeding life he found himself, 
there were plenty to carp at his stepmother's conduct, to 
impugn her motives, — worst of all, to drop side hints of her 
integrity ; but to all of these Ronald Kilsyth gave instant 
and immediate battle, never allowing the smallest insinuation 
which reflected upon her to pass unrebuked. He thought 
he knew his stepmother thoroughly : whether he did or not 
time must show ; but at all events he thought highly enough 
of her to permit himself to be guided by her in some of the 
most important steps in his career. 

RONALD. 113 

And what were his feelings with regard to Madeleine ? 
If yon wanted to find the key to Ronald Kilsyth's character, 
it was there that you should have looked for it. Ronald 
loved Madeleine with all the love which such a heart as his 
was capable of feeling ; but he watched over her with a 
strictness such as no duenna ever yet dreamed of. Years 
ago, when they were very little children, there occurred an 
episode which Miss O 'Grady- — who was then Kilsyth's 
governess, and now happily married to Herr Ohm, a wine-mer- 
chant at Heidelberg — to this day narrates with the greatest de- 
light. It was in Hamilton Gardens, where the Kilsyth children 
and a number of others were playing at Les Graces — a 
pleasing diversion then popular with youth — and little Lord 
Claud Barrington, in picking up and restoring her hoop to 
Madeleine, had taken advantage of the opportunity to kiss 
her hand. Ronald noticed the gallantry, and at once 
resented it, asking the youthful libertine how he dared to 
take such a liberty. " "Well, but she liketh it ! " said Lord 
Claud, ingenuously pointing to Madeleine, who was sucking 
and biting the end of her hoop-stick, by no means ill-pleased. 
" Yery likely," said Ronald ; " but these girls know nothing 
of such matters. 1 am my sister's guardian, and call upon 
you to apologize." Lord Claud, humiliated, said he was 
" wewy thorry ; " and the three, — he, Ronald, and Made- 
leine, — had some bath-pipe and some cough-lozenges as a 
banquet in honour of the reconciliation. 

This odd watchfulness, never slumbering, always vigilant, 
perpetually unjust, and generally exigeant, characterized Ro- 
nald's relations with his sister up to the time of our story. 
When she first came out, his mental torture was extraor- 
dinary ; he, so long banished from ball-rooms, accepted every 
invitation, and though he never danced, would invariably 
remain in the dancing-room, ensconced behind a pillar, loung- 
ing in a doorway, always in some position whence ho could 
command his sister's movements, and throughout the evening 


never taking his eyes from her. His friends, or rather his 
acquaintances, who at first watched his rapt attention with- 
out having the smallest idea of its object, used to chaff him 
upon his devotion, and interrogate him as to whether it was 
the tall person with the teeth, the stout virgin with the shells 
in her hair, or the interesting party with the shoulders, who 
had won his young affection. Ronald stood this chaff well, 
confident in the fact that hitherto his sister had performed 
her part in that grand and ludicrous mystery termed " So- 
ciety," and had escaped heart-whole. He began to realize 
the truth of the axiom about the constant dropping of water. 
So long as Madeleine had had sense to comprehend, he had 
instilled into her the absolute necessity of consulting him 
before she even permitted herself to have the smallest liking 
for any man. During the first two months of her first season 
she had confessed to him twice : once in the case of a middle- 
aged, well-preserved peer ; and again when a thia, black- 
bearded attache of the Brazilian embassy was in question. 
Ronald's immediate and unmistakable veto had been suffi- 
cient in both cases ; and he was flattering himself that the 
rest of the season had passed without any further call on his 
self-assumed judicial functions. 

Imagine, then, his state of mind at the receipt of Lady 
Muriel's letter ! The assault had been made, the mine had 
been sprung, the enemy was in the citadel, and, worst of all, 
the enemy was masked and disguised, and the guardian of 
the fortress did not know who was his assailant, or what 
measures he should take to repel him. 



The hall-porter at Barnes's Club in St James's-street, 
whose views of life during the last two months had been re- 


markably gloomy and desponding, began to revive and to feel 
himself again as the end of October drew on apace. He had 
had a dull time of it, that hall-porter, during August and 
September, sitting in his glazed box, cutting the newspapers 
which no one came to read, and staring at the hat-pegs which 
no one used. He had his manuscript book before him, but 
he did not inscribe ten names in it during the day, for nearly 
everybody was out of town ; and the few members who per- 
force remained — gentlemen in the "Whitehall offices, or officers 
in the Household Brigade — found scaffolding and ladders in 
the hall of Barnes's, and the morning-room in the hands of 
the whitewashes, and the coffee-room closed, and the smok- 
ers relegated to the card-room, and such a general state of 
discomfort, that they shunned Barnes's, and went off to the 
other clubs to which they belonged. But with the end of 
October came a change. The men who had been shooting 
in the North, the men who had been travelling on the Con- 
tinent, the men who had been yachting, and the men who 
had been lounging on the sea-coast, all came through town 
on their way to their other engagements ; those who had no 
other engagements, and who had spent all their available 
money, settled down into their old way of life ; all paid at 
least a flying visit to the club to see who was in town, and to 
learn any news that might be afloat. 

It is a sharp bright afternoon, and the morning-room at 
Barnes's is so full that you might actually fancy it the sea- 
son. Sir Coke Only's gray cab horse is, as usual, champing 
his bit just outside the door, and Lord Sumph's brougham is 
there, and Tommy Toshington's chestnut cob with the white 
face is being led up and down by the red-jacketed lad, who 
has probably been out of town too, as he has not been seen 
since Parliament broke up, and yet is there and to the fore 
directly he is wanted. Tommy Toshington himself, an ap- 
ple-faced little man, who might be any age between sixteen 
and sixty, but who is considerably nearer the latter than the 

former, gathers his letters from the porter as he passes, looks 

i 2 


through them quickly, shaking his head the while at two or 
three written on very blue paper, and addressed in very 
formal writing, and proceeds to the morning-room. Every- 
body there, everybody knowing Tommy, universal chorus of 
welcome from all save three old gentlemen reading evening 
papers, two of whom don't know Tommy, and all of whom 
hate him. 

" And where have you come from, Tommy ? " says Lord 
Sumph, who is a charming nobleman, labouring under the 
slight eccentricity of occasionally imagining that he is a 
steam-engine, when he whistles, and shrieks, and puffs, and 
has to be secluded from observation until the fit is over. 

"Last from East Standling, my lord," says Tommy; 
"and very pleasant it was." 

" Must have been doosid pleasant, by all I hear," says 
Sir Thomas Buffem, K.C.B., and late of the Madras army, 
"Dook had the gout, hadn't he ? and we all know howpleas= 
ant he is then ! " 

" That feller was there of course — what's his name ? — 
Bawlindor the barrister," says Sir Coke Only. " Can't bear 
that feller, dev'lish low-bred feller ; was a dancin'-master or 
something of that sort — can't bear low-bred fellers ; " and 
Sir Coke, whose paternal grandfather had been a pedlar, and 
who himself combined the intellect of an Esquimaux with the 
manners of a "Whitechapel butcher on a Saturday night, 
cleared his throat, and thumped his stick, and looked fero- 

" Yes, Mr Bawlindor was there," says Tommy Toshing- 
ton, looking round with a queer twinkle in his little gray 
eyes ; " and he was very pleasant, very pleasant indeed. I 
hardly know how the duchess would have got on without 
him. He said some doosid smart things, did Mr Bawlindor." 

"I hate a feller who says smart things," said Sir Coke 
Only ; "making a buffoon of himself." 

" Ha, ha ! " said Duncan Forbes, joining the group— 


" the carrier is jealous of the tumbler ; it's a mere question 
of pigeons." 

" "What do you mean, Sir Duncan ? I don't understand 
you," said Sir Coke angrily. 

"Don't suppose you do — never gave you credit for any- 
thing of the sort. — How are you, all you fellows ? What 
were the smart things that Bawlindor said, Tommy ? " 

" Well, I don't know ; perhaps you wouldn't think 'em 
smart, Duncan, because you're a devilish clever chap your- 
self, and — " 

" Yes, yes, we know all about that ; but tell us some 
smart things that Bawlindor said — tell us one." 

" Well, you know Tottenham ? you know he gives awful 
heavy dinners ? He was bragging about them one day at 
luncheon at East Standling, and Bawlindor said, ' There's one 
thing, my lord, I always envy when I'm dining with you.' 
' What's that ? ' says Tottenham. ' I envy your gas,' says 
Bawlindor, ' and it escapes.' " 

" Ye-es ! that was not bad for Bawlindor. I hate the 
brute though ; I dare say he stole it from somebody else. 
Well,Jiow are you all, and what's the news ? " 

" You ought to be able to tell us that," said Lord Sumph. 
" We're only just back in town, and you've been here all the 
time, haven't you, in the Tower or somewhere ? " 

" ]N"ot I ; I'm only just back too." 

" And where have you come from ? ' ' 

" Last from Kilsyth." 

" Devil you have ! " growled Sir Thomas Buffem, edging 
away. " They've had jungle-fever — not jungle, scarlet-fever 
there, haven't they ? " 

" Oh, ah, Duncan," said Clement Walkinshaw of the 
Foreign Office, " tell us all about that ! It was awful, 
wasn't it? Towcester cut and run, didn't he? Mrs 
Severn said he turned pea-green, and sent such a stunning 
caricature of him to her sister, who was staying at Claver- 



ton ! We stuck it up in the smoking-room, and had no 
end fun about it." 

"I'm glad you were so much amused. It wasn't no 
end fun for Miss Kilsyth, however, as she was nearly losing 
her life." 

" Was she, by Jove ! " said Walkinshaw, who was a 
"beauty boy," examining himself in the glass, and smoothing 
his little moustaches, — " was she, by Jove ! What ! our 
dear little Maddy ? " 

" Our dear little Maddy," said Duncan Forbes calmly, 
" if you are on sufficient terms of intimacy with the young 
lady to speak of her in that manner in a public room. 1 
call her Miss Kilsyth ; but then we were only brought up 
together as children, whereas you had the advantage of 
having been introduced to her last season, I think, Walkin- 

" That was a hot 'un for that d — d little despatch-box ! " 
Baid Sir Thomas Buffem, as Walkinshaw walked off discom- 
fited. " Serve him quite right — conceited little brute ! " 

" Well, but what was it, Duncan ? " asked Lord Sumph. 
" It wasn't only the gal, heaps of people were down with it, 
eh ? — regular hospital, and that kind of thing ? I saw the 
Northallertons on their way south, and the duchess said it 
was awfully bad up there." 

"The duchess is a — very nice person," said Forbes, 
checking himself, "and, like Sir Thomas here, an old 

" But it was a great go, though, Duncan, — infection and 
all that, eh ? " asked Captain Hetherington, who had joined 
the talkers. " There's no such thing as getting Poole's peo- 
ple to make you a coat ; the whole resources of the establish- 
ment are concentrated on building a new rig-out for Tow- 
cester, who had sacrificed his entire get-up, and had his hair 
cut close, and taken no end of Turkish baths, for fear of being 
refused admittance at places where he was going to stay." 


"All I can say is, then, that it's a capital thing for 
Towcester's man, or whoever gets his wardrobe," said 
Forbes. " Charley Jefferson might have made a good thing 
by buying his tunics, only there's a slight difference in their 
size — he wouldn't have feared the infection." 

" No, not in that way perhaps," said Hetherington. 
" Charley's like the Yankee in Dickens's book, ' fever-proof 
and likewise ague ; ' but he can be got at, we all know. 
How about the widow ? She bolted too, didn't she ? " 

" She did — more shame for her. No ! the fact was, that 
at Kilsyth—" 

" Cave caneml" said Tommy Toshington, holding up a 
monitory finger — " Cave canem, as we used to say at school. 
Here's Ronald Kilsyth just come into the room and making 
towards us ! " 

Tou can get a good view of Eonald Kilsyth now as he 
advances up the room. Eather under than over the middle 
height, with very broad shoulders, betokening great muscu- 
lar strength, and square limbs. His head is large, and his 
thick brown hair is brushed off his broad forehead, and 
hangs almost to his coat-collar. He has a well-moulded 
but rather a stern face, with bushy eyebrows, piercing gray 
eyes, and close thin lips. He is dressed plainly but in good 
taste, and his whole appearance is perfectly gentlemanlike. 
It would have been as hard to have mistaken Eonald for a 
snob as to have passed him by without notice ; and there 
was something about him that infallibly attracted atten- 
tion, and made those who saw him for the first time wonder 
who he was. It would have been quite impossible to divine 
his profession from his appearance ; neither in look nor bear- 
ing was there the smallest trace of the plunger. He might 
have been taken for a deep-thinking Chancery barrister, 
had it not been for his moustache ; or, more likely still, a 
shrewd, long-headed engineer, a- man of facts and figures and 
calculation ; but never a dragoon. He had been the inno- 



cent cause of extreme disappointment to many young ladies 
in various parts of the country where he had stayed — quiet 
unsophisticated girls, whose visits to London had been 
very rare, and who knew nothing of its society, and who 
hearing that a Life-Guards' officer was coming to dinner, 
expected to see a gigantic creature, all cuirass and jack- 
boots, an enlarged and ornamental edition of the sentries 
in front of the Horse-Guards. Ronald Kilsyth in his plain 
evening dress was a great blow to them ; in bygone days 
his moustache would have been some consolation ; but now 
the young farmers in the neighbourhood, the sporting sur- 
geon, and all the volunteers wore moustaches ; and though 
in subsequent conversation they found Eonald very pleas- 
ant, he neither drawled, nor lisped, nor made love to them ; 
all of which proceedings they had believed to be necessary 
attributes of his branch of the military profession. 

And many persons who were not young ladies in the 
country were disappointed in Eonald Kilsyth, more espe- 
cially old friends of his father, who expected to find his son 
resembling him. Eonald inherited his father's love of hon- 
our, truth, and candour, his keen sense of right and wrong, 
his manliness and his courage ; but there the likeness be- 
tween the men ceased. Kilsyth's warmth of heart, warmth 
of temper, and largeness of soul were not reflected by 
Eonald, Avho never lost his self-control, who never gave any- 
body credit for more than they deserved, and who — save 
perhaps for his sister Madeleine, and his love for her was of 
a very stern and Spartan character — had never entertained 
any particularly warm feelings for any human being. 

Eonald Kilsyth is not popular at Barnes's, being de- 
cidedly an unclubbable man. The members, if ever they 
speak of him at all, want to know what he joined for. He 
belonged to the Eag, didn't he, and some other club, where 
he could sit mumchance over his mutton, or stare at the 
lads from Aldershott drinking five-guinea Heidzeck cham- 


pagne. What did lie want among this sociable set ? Ho 
always looked straight down his nose when Gruffoon came 
up with a sad story, and he never cared about any scandal 
that was foreign. But he was not disliked, at least openly. 
It was considered that he was a doosid clever fellow, with a 
doosid sharp tongue of his own ; and at Barnes's, as at 
other clubs, they are generally polite to fellows with doosid 
sharp tongues. And his father was a very good fellow, and 
gave very good dinners during the season; and Kilsyth 
was a very pleasant house to stop at in the autumn ; so 
that, for these various reasons, Eonald Kilsyth, albeit in 
himself unpopular at Barnes's, was never suffered to hear of 
his unpopularity. 

Not that, if he had, it would have troubled him one jot. 
No man in the world was more careless of what people 
thought of him, so long as he had the approval of his own 
conscience ; and by dint of long course of self-schooling 
and the presence of a certain amount of self-satisfaction, 
he could generally count upon that. He could not tell 
himself why he had joined Barnes's Club, unless it was that 
Duncan Forbes was a member, and had asked him to join ; 
and he liked Duncan Forbes in his way, and wanted some 
place where he could be pretty certain of finding him when 
in town. There were few points of resemblance between 
Eonald Kilsyth and Duncan Forbes ; but perhaps their 
very dissimilarity was the bond of the union, such as it 
was, that existed between them. Eonald knew Duncan to 
be weak, but believed him, and rightly, to be thorough. 
Duncan Forbes would assume a languid haw-hawism, an 
almost idiotic rapidity, a freezing hauteur to any one he did 
not know and did not care for, for the merest caprice ; but 
he would stand or fall by a friend, and not Charley Jeffer- 
son himself would be firmer and truer under trial. Eonald 
knew this ; and knowing it, was not disposed to be hard on 
his friend's less stable qualities — was rather amused indeed 


"by Duncan's nonsense," as he phrased it, and showed 
more inclination for his society than that of any other of 
his acquaintance. 

The group of talkers in the window opened as Eonald 
approached, and he shook hands with its various members ; 
Tommy Toshington, who always had something pleasant to 
say to anybody out of whom there was any possibility of 
his ever getting anything, complimenting him on his appear- 

" Look as fresh as paint, Eonald, my boy — fresh as paint, 
by Jove ! Where have you been to pick up such a colour 
and to get yourself into such focus, eh ? " 

" The marine breezes of Knightsbridge have contributed 
to my complexion, Toshington, and the vigorous exercise of 
walking four miles a day on the London flags has brought 
me into my present splendid condition." 

" What ! not been away from town at all ? " asked Sir Coke 
Only, who would almost as soon have acknowledged his poor 
relations as confessed to having been in London in September. 

" Not at all. In the first place, I was on duty, and 
could not get away ; not that I think I should have moved 
nnder any circumstances. London is always good enough 
for me." 

" But not when it's quite empty," said Lord Sumph. 

" It can't be quite empty with two millions and a half of 
people in it, Sumph," said Eonald. 

" Oh, ah, cads and tradesmen, and all that sort of thing, — 
devilish worthy people in their way, of course ; but I mean 
people that one knows." 

" I know 'several of those ' devilish worthy people,' 
Sumph," said Eonald, with a smile ; "and besides, country- 
house life is not much in my way." 

" Don't meet those d — d radical fellows that he thinks so 
much of, there," growled Sir Thomas Buffem to Sir Coke 


" No, nor those painters and people that my boy says 
this chap's always bringing to mess," replied Sir Coke. 

" There, he's gone away with Duncan now," said Tosh- 
ington, "and they'll be happy. They're too clever, those 
two are, for us old fellows ! Not that you're an old fellow, 
Sumph, my boy." 

"You're old enough for several, ain't you, Tommy?" 
said Lord Sumph ; " and I'm old enough to play you a game 
of billiards before dinner, and give you fifteen; so come 

Meanwhile Eonald Kilsyth and Duncan Forbes had 
walked away to the far end of the room, which happened to 
be deserted at the time ; and seating themselves on an otto- 
man, were soon engaged in earnest conversation. 

" "What on earth made you remain in town, Eonald ? " 
asked Duncan. " I heard what you said to those fellows ; 
but I know well enough that you could have got leave if 
you had wished. "Why did you not come up to Kilsyth ? " 

" Principally because there was no particular inducement 
for me to do so, Duncan ? " 

" You always were polite, Eonald — " 

" Ah, you were there ! No, no ; you know perfectly well 
what I mean, Duncan. "With you and the governor and 
Madeleine I'm always perfectly happy ; and her ladyship is 
very friendly, and we get on very well together. But then 
I like you all quietly and by yourselves ; I'm selfish enough 
to want the entire enjoyment of your society. And the life 
at Kilsyth would not have suited me at all." 

" "Well, I don't know ; it was very jolly — " 

" Yes, of course it was, and — By the way, Duncan, tell 
me all about it ; who were there, and what you did ? " 

" Oh, heaps of people there — the Northallertons, and the 
Thurlows, and — " 

" Yes, yes ; but what men — younger men, I mean ? " 

" Let me see; there was Towcester — " 


" No, not he ; her ladyship would not have thought him 
objectionable, whatever I might." 

" "What ? what the deuce are you muttering, Ronald ? " 

" I beg your pardon, Duncan — thinking aloud only ; it's 
a horrible habit I've fallen into. "Well, who besides Tow- 
cester ? " 

" Oh, Severn, and Eoderick Douglas, and Charley Jeffer- 
son — " 

" Ah, Charley Jefferson ; he's just the same, of course ? " 

" Oh yes, he's as jolly as ever." 

" Tes ; but I mean, is he as devoted as he was to Lady 
Fairfax ? " 

" Oh, worse ; most desperate case of — no, by the way, 
though, I forgot ; I think he has cooled off — ' ' 

" Cooled off! since when? " 

" Since your sister's illness." 

" Since my sister's illness ! "What, what could that have 
to do with them ? " 

" "Well, you see, some of the people in the house got 
frightened at the notion of infection and that kind of thing, 
and bolted off. Lady Fairfax was one of the first to rush 
away ; and Charley, who is loyalty itself in everything, as 
you know, was deucedly annoyed about it. My lady had 
been leading him a pretty dance for a few days previously, 
playing off little Towcester against him, and — -" 

" Ah, yes. No doubt Charley was right, quite right. 
And that was all about him, eh ? And so the people were 
frightened at poor Madeleine's illness, were they ? " 

" Gad, they were, and not without reason too. The 
poor child was awfully bad ; and indeed, if it had not been for 
"Wilmot, I much doubt whether she would have pulled through." 

"Hadn't been for "Wilmot? "Wilmot! Oh, yes, the 
London doctor who was staying somewhere near, and who 
was telegraphed for. Tell me about Dr Wilmot — a clever 
man, is'nt he ? " 

" Clever ! He's wonderful ! Keen, clear-headed fellow; 


sees his way through a brick wall in a minute. Not that at 
Kilsyth he did not do as much by his devotion to his patient 
as by his skill." 

" Devotion ? Oh, he was devoted to his patient, eh ? " 
said Ronald, biting his nails. 

" Never saw such a thing in all your life. "Went in a 
regular perisher," said Duncan Forbes, dropping his hands 
to emphasize his words. " Put himself in regular quarantine ; 
cut himself off from all communication with anybody else, 
and shut himself up in the room with his patient for days 
together. It's the sort of thing you read of in poems, and 
that kind of thing, don't you know, but very seldom meet with 
in real life. If "VVilmot had been a young man, and your 
sister had had any chance of making him like her, I should 
have said it was a case of smite. But "Wilmot is an old 
married man ; and these doctors don't indulge much in being 
captivated, especially by patients in fevers, I should think ! " 

" No ; of course not, of course not. Now, this Wilmot 
—what's he like ? " 

" "Well, he's rather a striking-looking man ; looks very 
earnest, and speaks with a very effectively modulated voice." 

" Ah ! And he's gentlemanly, eh ? " 

" Oh, perfectly gentlemanly. No mistake in that." 

"And he was wonderfully devoted to Madeleine, eh? 
Very kind of him, I'm sure. Shut himself up in her room, 
and — "What did Lady Muriel think of him, by the way ? " 

" I scarcely know. I never heard her say ; and yet I 
gathered somehow that Lady Muriel was not so much im- 
pressed in the doctor's favour as the rest of us." 

" That's curious, for there are few keener readers of 
character than Lady Muriel. And the doctor was not a 
favourite of hers ? " 

" Well, no ; I should say not. But the rest of the party 
were so strongly in his favour that we looked with some 
suspicion on all who did not shout as loudly as ourselves." 

" And Madeleine, was she equally enthusiastic ? " 


" Poor Miss Kilsyth, she was not well enough to have 
much enthusiasm on any subject, even on her doctor. Grati- 
tude is, I imagine, the strongest sentiment one is capable of 
after a long and severe illness." 

" Exactly — yes — I should suppose so. And what aged 
man is Dr "Wilmot ? " 

" Oh, what we should have called some years ago very old, 
but what we now look upon as the commencement of middle 
age — just approaching forty, I should think." 

" He is married, you say ? " 

" Tes ; so we all understood. Oh yes, I heard him once 
mention his wife to Lady Muriel. — I say, Eonald, what an 
unconscionable lot of questions you are asking about Wilmot ; 
one would think that — " 

" Gentleman waiting to speak to you, sir," said a servant, 
handing a card to Eonald ; " says he won't detain you a mo- 
ment, sir." 

Eonald took the card, and read on it " Dr "Wilmot." 

" I will come to the gentleman at once," said he ; and 
the servant went away. 

" Who is it ? Any one I know ? " asked Duncan Forbes. 

" He is a stranger to me," said Eonald, blinking the 

He found Dr Wilmot in that wretched little waiting-room 
about the size of a warm bath, and having for its furniture a 
chair, a table, and a map of England, which is dedicated at 
Barnes's to the reception of " strangers." The gas was low, 
and the Doctor was heavily wrapped up, and had a shawl 
round the lower part of his face ; but Eonald made him out 
to be a gentlemanly-looking man, and specially noticed his 
keen flashing eyes. The Doctor was sorry to disturb Captain 
Kilsyth, but his father had sent up to him just before he 
started a parcel which he wished delivered personally to the 
Captain ; so he had brought it on his way from the Great 


Northern, by which he had just arrived. It was some law- 
deed, about the safety of which Kilsyth was a little par- 
ticular. It would have been delivered two days since, but, 
passing through Edinburgh, the Doctor had found his old 
friend Sir Saville Eowe staying at the same hotel, and had 
Buffered himself to be persuaded to accompany him to see 
the new experiments in anaesthetics which Simpson had just 
made, and which — Ah ! but the Captain did not care for 
medical details. The Captain was very sorry that he had 
not a better room to ask the Doctor into ; but the regula- 
tions at Barnes's about strangers were antediluvian and 
absurd. He should take an early opportunity of thanking 
Dr Wilmot for his exceeding kindness in going to Kilsyth, 
and for the skill and attention which he had bestowed on 
Miss Kilsyth. The Doctor apparently to Eonald, even in 
the dull gas-light, with a heightened colour disclaimed every- 
thing, asserting that he had merely done his duty. Exchange 
of bows and of very cold hand-shakes, the Doctor jumping 
into the cab at the door, Eonald turning back into the hall, 
muttering, " That's the man ! Taking what Duncan Forbes 
said, and that fellow's look when I named Madeleine — taking 
them together, that's the man that Lady Muriel meant. 
That's the man, for a thousand pounds ! " 

In the cab Dr Wilmot is thinking about Eonald. A blunt 
rough customer rather, but with a wonderful look of his 
sister about him ; not traceable to any feature in particular, 
but in the general expression. His sister ! now a memory 
and a dream — with the bit of blue ribbon as the sole tangible 
reminiscence of her. She is among her friends now ; and 
probably at this moment some one is sitting close by her, 
close as he used to sit, and he is forgotten already, or but 
thought of as — Not a pleasant manner, Captain Kilsyth's. 
Studiously polite, no doubt, but with an under-current of 
badly-veiled suspicion and reserve. "What could that mean ? 
Dr "Wilmot knew that his conduct towards the Kilsyth 


family, so far at least as its outward expression was concerned, 
had merited nothing but gratitude from every member of it. 
"Why, then, was the young man embarrassed and suspicious ? 
Could he — pshaw ! how could he by any possible means have 
become aware of the Doctor's secret feelings towards Miss 
Kilsyth — feelings so secret that they had never been breathed 
in words to mortal ? Perfectly absurd ! It is conscience 
that makes cowards of us all ; and the Doctor decides that it 
is conscience which has made him pervert Captain Kilsyth's 
naturally cold manner so ridiculously. 

Well, it is all over now ! He is just back again at bis 
old life, and he must give up the day-dreams of the past 
month and fall back into his professional habits. Looking 
out of the cab window at the long monotonous row of dirty- 
brown houses, at the sloppy street, at the pushing crowds on 
the foot-pavement, listening to the never-ceasing roar of 
wheels, he can bardly believe that he has only just returned 
from mountain, and heather, and distance, and fresh air, and 
comparative solitude ! Back again ! The reception at home 
from " ten till one," the old ladies' pulses and the old gentle- 
men's tongues, the wearied listening to the symptoms, the 
stclhoscopical examination, and the prescription-writing; 
then the afternoon visits, with the repetition of all the 
morning's details ; the hospital lecture ; the dull, cold, formal 
dinner with Mabel ; and the evening's reading and writing, 
— without one bright spot in the entire daily round, without 
ono cheering hope, one — 

A smell of tan ! — the street in front of his door strewed 
with tan ! Some one ill close by. What is this strange 
sickness that comes over him — thi3 sinking at his heart — 
this clamminess of his brow and hands ? The cab has scarcely 
stopped before he has jumped out, and has knocked at the 
door. Not his usual sharp decisive knock, but feebly and 
hesitatingly. He notices this himself, and is wondering 
about it, when the door opens, and his servant, always solemn 
but now preternafcurally grave, appears. 


Glad to see you at last, sir," says the man, " though 
you're too late! " 

" Too late ! " echoes Wilmot vacantly ; " too late ! — what 
for ? " 

"For God's sake, sir," says the man, startled out of his 
ordinary quietude ; "you got the telegram ? " 

"Telegram! no — what ' telegram ? " "What did it say? 
What has happened ? " 

" Mrs Wilmot, sir ! — she's gone, sir ! — died yesterday 
morning at eight o'clock! " 



Ciiedleigh Wilmot was a strong man, and he possessed 
much of the pride and reticence which ordinarily accompany 
strength of character. Hitherto he can hardly be said to 
have suffered much in his life. Affliction had come to him, 
as it comes to every man born of woman ; but it had come 
in the ordinary course of human life, unattended by excep- 
tional circumstances, above all not intensified, not warped 
from its wholesome purposes by self-reproach. His life had 
been commonplace in its joys and in its griefs alike, and he 
had never suffered from any cause which was not as palpable, 
as apparent, to all who knew him as to himself. His had 
been the sorrows, chiefly his parents' death, which are rather 
gravely acknowledged and respected, than whispered about 
in corners with dubious head-shaking and suggestive shoulder- 
shrugging. So far the experience of the rising man had in 
it nothing distinctive, nothing peculiarly painful. 

But there was an end of this now. A new phase of life 
had begun for Chudleigh Wilmot, when he recoiled, like one 
who has received a deadly thrust, and whose life-blood rushes 


forth in answer to it, from the announcement made to him 
by his servant. He realized the truth of the man's state- 
ment as the words passed his lips ; he was not a man whose 
brain was ever slow to take any impression, and he knew in 
an instant and thoroughly understood that his wife was dead. 
A very few minutes more sufficed to show him all that was 
implied by that tremendous truth. His wife was dead ; not 
of a sudden illness assailing the fortress of life and carrying 
it by one blow, but of an illness that had had time in which 
to do its deadly work. His wife was dead ; had died alone, 
in the care of hirelings; while he had been away in attend- 
ance upon a stranger, one out of his own sphere, not even a 
regular patient, one for whom he had already neglected 
pressing duties — not so sacred indeed as that which he could 
now never fulfil or recall, but binding enough to have brought 
severe reflections upon him for their neglect. The thought 
of all this surged up within him, and overwhelmed him in a 
sea of trouble, while yet his face had not subsided from the 
look of horror with which he had heard his servant's awful 

He turned abruptly into his consulting-room and shut 
the door between him and the man, who had attempted to 
follow him, but who now turned his attention to dismissing 
the cab and getting in his master's luggage, during which 
process he informed cabby of the state of affairs. 

" I thought there were something tip," remarked that 
individual, " when I see the two-pair front with the windows 
open and the blinds down, and all the house shut up ; but 
lie didn't notice it." An observation which the servant 
commented upon later, and drew certain conclusions from, 
considerably nearer the truth than "Wilmot would have liked, 
had he had heart or leisure for any minor considerations. 
Presently Wilmot called the man ; who entered the consult- 
ing-room, and found his master almost as pale as the corpse 
upstairs in " the two-pair front," where the windows were 


open and the blinds wei-e down, but perfectly calm and 

" Is there a nurse in the house ? " 

" Tes, sir ; a nurse has been here since this day week, sir." 
" Send her here — stay — has Dr "Whittaker been here to- 
day ? " 

" No, sir ; he were here last night, a half an hour after 
my missus departed, sir ; but he ain't been here since. He 
said he would come at one, sir, to see your answer to the 
telegraft, sir." 

" Very well ; send the nurse to me ;" and Wilmot strode 
towards the darkened window, and leaned against the wire- 
blind which covered the lower compartment. He had not 
to wait long. Presently the man returned. 

" If you please, sir, the nurse has gone home to fetch 
some clothes, and Susan is a-watchin' the body." 

Chudleigh "Wilmot started, and ground his teeth. It 
was perfectly true ; the proper phrase had been used by this 
poor churl, who had no notion of fine susceptibilities and no 
intention of wounding them, who would not have remained 
away from his own wife if she had been ill, not to say dying, 
for the highest wages and the best perquisites to be had in 
any house in London, but to whom a corpse was a corpse, 
and that was all about it. The phrase did not make the 
dreadful truth a bit more dreadful or more true, but it made 
"Wilmot wince and quiver. 

" Is there no one else — upstairs ?" he asked. 
'•' Xo, sir. Mrs Prendergast were here all night, sir, and 
she is coming again to meet Dr "Whittaker; but there's no 
one but Susan a-watchin' now, sir. "We was waiting for 
orders from you." 

"Wilmot turned away from the man, and spoke without 
permitting him to see his face. 

" Tell Susan to leave the room, if you please ; I am going 





The man went away, and returned in a few minutes with 
a key, which he laid upon the table, and then silently with- 
drew. His master was still standing by the window, his 
face turned away. A considerable interval elapsed before 
the silent group of listeners, comprising all the servants 
of the establishment, upon the kitchen-stairs, heard the 
widower's slow and heavy step ascending the front staircase. 

The sight which Chudleigh Wilmot had to see, the strife 
of feeling which he had to encounter, were none the less terri- 
ble to him that death was familiar to him in every shape, in 
every preliminary of anguish and fear, in all that distorts 
its repose and renders its features terrible. It is an error 
surely to suppose that the familiarity of the physician with 
suffering and death, with all the ills that render the pilgrim- 
age of life burdensome and the earthy vesture repulsive, 
makes the experience of these things when brought home to 
him easier to bear. The sickness that defies his skill, the life 
that eludes his grasp, is as dark an enigma, as terrible a de- 
feat to him as to the man who knows nothing about the dis- 
solving frame but that it holds the being he loves and is 
doomed to lose. 

If Chudleigh Wilmot had had a deadly, vindictive, and 
relentless enemy, — one of those creatures of romance, but 
incredible in real life, who gloat over the misery of a hated 
object, and would increase it by every fiendish device within 
their ingenuity and power, — that fabulous being might have 
been satisfied with the mental torture which he endured when 
he found himself within the room, so formally arranged, so 
faultlessly orderly, so terribly suggestive of the cessation of 
life, in which his dead wife lay. As he turned the key in 
the lock, for the first time a sense of unreality, of impossi- 
bility came over him, with a swift bewildering remembrance 
— rather a vision than a recollection — of the last time he had 
seen her. He saw her standing in the hall, in the low light 
of the autumn evening, her pretty fresh dinner-dress lifted 


daintily out of the way of the servant carrying his port- 
manteau to the cab ; her head, with its coronet of dark hair, 
held up to receive her husband's careless kiss, as he followed 
the man to the door. He remembered how carelessly he 
had kissed her, and how — he had never thought of it before 
— she had not returned the caress. When had she kissed 
him last ? This was a trifling thing, that he had never 
thought about till now — a question he could not answer, and 
had never asked till now ; and in another moment he would 
be looking at her dead face ! 

The window-blinds fluttered in the faint autumn wind 
as "Wilmot opened the door, then quickly closed and locked 
it ; and the rustling sound added to the impressiveness of 
the great human silence. The hands of the stern woman 
who loved her had ordered all the surroundings of the dead 
tenderly and gracefully ; and the tranquil form lay in its 
deep rest very fair and solemn, and not terrible to look upon, 
if that can ever be said of death, in its garments of linen 
and lace. The head was a little bent, the face turned gently 
to one side, and the long dark eyelashes lay on the cheek, 
which was hardly at all sunken, as if they might be lifted up 
again and the light of life seen under them. Death was in- 
deed there, but the sign and the seal were not impressed 
upon the face yet for a little while. "Wilmot looked upon 
the dead tearless and still for some minutes, and then a quick 
short shudder ran through him, and he replaced the cover- 
ing which had concealed the features, and sat down by the 
bed-side, hiding his face with his hands. 

Who could put on paper the thoughts that swept over 
him then, and swept his mind away in their turmoil, and 
tossed him to and fro in a tempest of anguish which even 
the majestic tranquillity of death in presence was powerless to 
quell ? Who could measure the punishment, the tremendous 
retribution of those hours, in which, if the world could have 
known anything about them, the world would have seen the 



natural, the praiseworthy grief of bereavement ? Who shall 
say through what purifying fires of self-knowledge and self- 
abasement the nature of the erring man passed in that dread- 
ful vigil ? And yet he did not know the truth. His con- 
science had been rudely awakened, but his comprehension 
had not yet been enlightened. He did not yet know the 
terrible depths of meaning which he had still to explore in 
the words which were the only articulate sounds that had 
formed themselves amid the chaos of his grief — " Too late ; 
too late ! " The failure in duty, the poverty, the niggardli- 
ness in love, the negligence, the dallying with right, in so far 
as his wife had been concerned, were all there, keeping him 
ghastly company, as he sat by the side of the dead ; but the 
grimmest and the ghastliest phantoms which were to swarm 
around him were not yet evoked. 

To do Chudleigh Wilmot justice, he had no notion that 
his wife had been unhappy. That he had never rightly un- 
derstood her character or read her heart, was the soundest 
proof that he had not loved her ; but he had never taken 
himself to task on that point, and had been quite satisfied to 
impute such symptoms of discontent as he could not fail to 
notice to her sullenness of temper, of which he considered 
himself wonderfully tolerant. So little did this wise, rising 
man understand women, that he actually believed that in- 
difference to his wife's moods was a good-humoured sort of 
kindness she could not fail to appreciate. She had ap- 
preciated it only too truly. The source of much of the re- 
morse and self-condemnation which tortured him now was 
to be traced to his own newly-awakened feelings, to the 
fresh and novel susceptibility which the experience of the 
past few weeks had aroused, and in which lay the germs of 
some terrible lessons for the man whose studies in all but 
the lore of the human heart had been so deep, whose know- 
ledge of that had been so strangely shallow. And now no 
knowledge could avail. The harm, the wrong, the cruel ill 


that had been done, was gone before him to the judgment ; 
and he must live to learn its extent, to feel its bitterness 
with every day of life, which could never avail to lessen or 
repair it. 

When Dr Whittaker arrived, he found Wilmot in his 
consulting-room, quite calm and steady, and prepared to 
receive his professional account of the " melancholy occur- 
rence," on which he condoled with the bereaved husband 
after the most approved models. He did not attempt to 
disguise from "Wilmot that he had been disagreeably sur- 
prised by his non-return under the circumstances. "Also," 
he added, "by your not sending me any instructions; 
though indeed at that stage nothing could have availed, I 
am convinced." 

Wilmot received these observations with such unmis- 
takable surprise that an explanation ensued, which elicited 
the fact that he had never received any letter from Dr 
Whittaker, and indeed had had no intimation of his wife's 
illness, beyond that conveyed in a letter from herself a 
fortnight previous to her death, and in which she treated 
it as quite a trifling matter. 

" Very extraordinary indeed," said Dr Whittaker in a 
dry and unsatisfactory tone. " I can only repeat that I 
sent you the fullest possible report, and entreated you to 
return at once. I was particularly anxious, as Mrs Wilmot 
confessed to me that you were unaware of her situation." 

" I never had the letter," said Wilmot ; " I never heard 
of or from you, beyond the memoranda enclosed in my 
wife's letters." 

" Very extraordinary," repeated Dr Whittaker still more 
drily than before. " She took the letter at her own par- 
ticular request, saying she would direct it, that the sight 
of her handwriting on the envelope, she being unable to 
write more, might reassure you." 

Wilmot coloured deeply and angrily under his brother 


physician's searching gaze. He had not looked for his wife's 
infrequent letters with any anxiety ; he had had no quick, 
love-inspired apprehension to be assuaged by her womanly 
considerateness. He felt an uneasy sort of gladness that 
she had thought he had had such apprehension — better so, 
even now, when all mistakes were doomed to be everlasting, 
— or when they were quite cleared up. "Which was it ? 
He did not know ; he did not like to think. All was over ; 
all was too late. 

" I never received any such letter," he said again ; " and 
I am astonished you did not write again when you got no 

" I did not write again, because Mrs Wilmot gave me so 
very decidedly to understand that you had told her you 
could not, under any circumstances, leave Kilsyth; and 
danger was not imminent until Monday, when I telegraphed, 
just too late to catch you." 

No more was said upon the point; but on Wilmot's 
mind was left a painful and disagreeable impression that Dr 
"Whittaker had received his explanation with distrust. The 
colloquy between the two physicians lasted long ; and Wil- 
mot was further engaged for a long time in giving the 
necessary attention to the distressing details which claim 
a hearing just at the time when they most disturb and jar 
with the tone of feeling. A sense of shock and hurry — a 
difficulty of realizing the event which had occurred, quite 
other than the stunned feeling of conviction which had 
come with the first reception of the intelligence — beset 
him, while the nameless evidences of death were constantly 
pressed upon his attention. He sat in his consulting-room, 
receiving messages and communications of every kind, 
hearing the subdued voices of the servants as they replied 
to inquiries, feeling as though he were living through a 
terrible feverish dream, conscious of all around him, and 
yet strangely, awfully conscious too of the dead white face 


upstairs growing, as he knew, more stiff and stark and awful 
as the hours, so crowded yet so lonely, so busy yet so 
dreary, flew, no, dragged — which was it ? — along. 

Many times that day, as Chudleigh "Wilmot sat cold and 
grave, and, although deeply sad, more composed, more like 
himself than most men would have been in similar circum 
stances — a vision rose before his mind. It was a vision 
such as has come to many a mourner — a vision of what 
might have leen. For it was not only his wife's death that 
the new-made widower had learned that day; he had 
learned that which had made her death doubly sad, far 
more untimely. The vision that Chudleigh saw in his day- 
dream was of a fair young mother and her child, a happy 
wife in the summer-time of her beauty and her pride of 
motherhood — this was what might have been. What was, 
was a dead white face upstairs upon the bed, waiting for 
the coffin and the grave, and a blighted hope, a promise 
never to be fulfilled, which had never even been whispered 
between the living and the dead. 

Mrs Prendergast had been in the darkened house for 
many hours of that long day. Wilmot knew she was there ; 
but she had sent him no message, and he had made no 
attempt to see her. He shrank from seeing her ; and yet 
he wished to know all that she, and she alone, could tell 
him. If he had ever loved his wife sufficiently to be jealous 
of any other sharing or even usurping her confidence, to 
have resented that any other should have a more intimate 
knowledge of Mabel's sentiments and tastes, should have 
occupied her time and her attention more fully than he, 
Henrietta Prendergast's intimacy with her might have eli- 
cited such feeling. But Chudleigh Wilmot had not loved 
his wife enough for jealousy of the nobler, and was too 
much of a gentleman for jealousy of the baser kind. No 
such insidious element of ill ever had a place in his nature ; 
and, except that he did not like Mrs Prendergast, whom 


he considered a clever woman of a type more objectionable 
than common — and "Wilmot was not an admirer of clever 
women generally — he never resented, or indeed noticed, the 
exceptional place she occupied among the number of his 
wife's friends. But there was something lurking in his 
thoughts to-day ; there was some unfaced, some unques- 
tioned misery at work within him, something beyond the 
tremendous shock he had received, the deep natural grief 
and calamity which enshrouded him, that made him shrink 
from seeing Henrietta until he should have had more time 
to get accustomed to the truth. 

"When the night had fallen, he heard the light tread of 
women's feet in the hall and a gentle whispering. Then the 
street-door was softly shut, and carriage-wheels rolled away. 
The gas had been lighted in Wilmot's room, but he had 
turned it almost out, and was sitting in the dim light, when 
a knock at the door aroused his attention. The intruder 
was the " Susan " already mentioned. Mrs Wilmot had not 
boasted an "own maid; " but this girl, one of the house- 
maids, had been in fact her personal attendant. She came 
timidly towards her master, her eyes red and her face pale 
with grief and watching. 

" Well, what is it now ? " said Wilmot impatiently. He 
was weary of disturbance ; he wanted to be securely alone, 
and to think it out. 

" Mrs Prendergast desired me to give you this, sir," the 
girl replied, handing him a small packet, " and to say she 
wants to see you, sir, to-morrow — respecting some messages 
from missus." 

He took the parcel from her, and Susan left the room. 
Before she reached the stairs, her master called her back. 

" Susan," he said, " where's the seal-ring your mistress 
always wore ? This parcel contains her keys and her wed- 
ding-ring ; where is the seal-ring ? Has it been left on her 
hand ? " 


" No, sir," said Susan ; " and I can't think where it can 
have got to. Missus hasn't wore it, sir, not this fortnight ; 
and I have looked everywhere for it. You'll find all her 
tilings quite right, sir, except that ring ; and Mrs Prender- 
gast, she knows nothing about it neither ; for I called her 
my own self to take off missus's wedding-ring, as it was 
missus's own wish as she should do it, and she missed the 
seal-ring there and then, sir, and couldn't account for it no 
more than me." 

"Very well, Susan, it can't be helped," replied Wilmot ; 
and Susan again left him. 

He sat long, looking at the golden circlet as it lay in the 
broad palm of his hand. It had never meant so much to him 
before ; and even yet he was far from knowing all it had 
meant to her from whose dead hand it had been taken. At 
last, and with some difficulty, he . placed the ring upon the 
little finger of his left hand, saying as he did so, " I must 
find the other, and always wear them both." 



"When Chudleigh Wilmot arose on the following morn- 
ing, with the semi-stupefied feeling of a man on whom a 
great calamity had just fallen, not the least painful portion 
of the task, not the least difficult part of the endurance that 
lay before him, was the inevitable interview with his dead 
wife's friend. Mrs Prendergast had requested that he would 
receive her early. This he learned from the servant who 
answered his bell ; and he had directed that she should be 
admitted as soon as she arrived. He loitered about his 
room ; he dallied with the time ; he dared not face the cold 


silent house, the servants, who looked at him with natural 
curiosity, and, as he thought, avoidance. If the case had 
not been his own, Wilmot would have remembered that the 
spectacle of a new-made widow or widower always has at- 
tractions for the curiosity of the vulgar : strong, if the grief 
in the case be very violent, and stronger, if it be mild or non- 
existent. "Wilmot was awfully shocked by his wife's death, 
terribly remorseful for his own absence, and perhaps for an- 
other reason — at which, however, he had not yet had the 
hardihood to look — almost stunned by the terrible sense, the 
conviction of the irrevocable ill of the past, the utterly irre- 
parable nature of the wrong that had been done. But all 
these warring feelings did not constitute grief. Its supreme 
agony, its utter sadness, its unspeakable weariness were 
wanting in the strife which shook and rent him. The 
thought of the dead face had terror and regret for him ; but 
not the dreadful yearning of separation, not the mysterious 
wrenching asunder of body and spirit, almost as powerful as 
that of death itself, which comes with the sentence of part- 
ing, which makes the possibility of living on so incompre- 
hensible and so cruel to the true mourner. Not the fact 
itself, so much as the attendant circumstances, caused Wil- 
mot to suffer, as he undoubtedly did suffer. He knew in 
his heart that had there been no self-reproach involved in 
this calamity, he would not have felt it as he felt it now 
and in the knowledge there was denial of the reality of grief. 
No such thought as " How am I to live without her ? " 
the natural utterance of bereavement, arose in Wilmot's 
heart ; though neither did he profane his wife's memory or 
do dishonour to his own higher nature by even the most 
passing reference to the object which had so fatally engrossed 
him. The strong hand of death had curbed that passion for 
the present, and his thoughts turned to Kilsyth only with 
remorse and regret. But the wife who had had no absorbing 
share in his life could not by her death make a blank in it 
of wide extent or long duration. 


He was still lingering in Iris room, when he was toltt that 
Mrs Prendergast had arrived and was in the drawing-room. 
The closely-drawn blinds rendered the room so dark that he 
could not distinguish Henrietta's features, still further ob- 
scured by a heavy black veil. She did not rise, and she 
made no attempt to take his hand, which he extended to her 
in silence, the result of agitation. She bowed to him form- 
ally, and was the first to speak. Her voice was low and her 
words were hurried, though she tried hard to be calm. 

"I was with your wife during her illness and at her 
death, Dr Wilmot," she said ; " and I am here now not to 
offer you ill-timed condolences, but to fulfil a trust." 

Her tone surprised Wilmot, and affected him disagree- 
ably. There had never been any disagreement between him- 
self and Mrs Prendergast ; he was not a man likely to 
interfere or quarrel with his wife's friends ; and as he was 
wholly unconscious of the projects she had entertained 
towards him, he had not any suspicion of hidden malice on 
her part. Emotion he was prepared for — would indeed have 
welcomed ; he was ready also for blame and reproaches, in 
which he would have joined heartily, against himself; but 
the calm, cold, rooted anger in this woman's voice he was 
not prepared for. If such a thing had been possible — the 
thought flashed lightning-like across his mind before she had 
concluded her sentence — he might have had in her an enemy, 
biding her time, and now at length finding it. 

He did not speak, and she continued : 

"I presume you have heard from Dr Whittaker the 
particulars of Mabel's illness, its cause, and the means used 
to avert — what has not been averted ? — " 

" I have," briefly replied the listener. 

" Then I need not enter into that — beyond this : a por- 
tion of my trust is to tell you that Dr "Whittaker is not to 

" I have not blamed him, Mrs Prendergast." 

" that is well. "When Mabel knew, or thought, I fear 


hoped, that her life was in danger, her strongest deairo was 
that you should be kept in ignorance of the fact." 

" Good Grod ! why ? " exclaimed Wilmot. 

" I think you must know why better than I can tell 
you," replied Henrietta pitilessly. " But, at all events, such 
was the case. Dr Whittaker wrote to you, but she suppressed 
the letter. She gave it to me on the night she died. Here 
it is." 

Chudleigh Wilmot took the letter from her hand silently. 
Astonishment and distress overwhelmed him. 

" She bade me tell you that she laid her life down 
gladly ; that she had nothing to leave, nothing to regret ; 
that she was glad she had succeeded in keeping you in ig- 
norance of her danger — for she knew, for the sake of your 
reputation, you would have left even Miss Kilsyth to be 
here at her death. But she preferred your absence ; she 
distinctly bade me tell you so. She left no dying charge to 
you but this, that you should allow me to see her coffin 
closed on the second day after her death, and that you 
should wear her wedding-ring. I sent it to you last night, 
Dr Wilmot. I hope you got it safely." 

"I did; it is here on my finger," answered Wilmot; 
" but, for God's sake, Mrs Prendergast, tell me what all 
this means. Why did my wife charge you with such a 
message for me ; how have I deserved it ? Why did she, 
how should she, so young, and to all appearance not un- 
happy, wish to die, and to die in my absence ? Did she 
persevere in that wish, or was it only a whim of her illness, 
which, had there been any one to remonstrate with her, 
would have yielded later ? " 

" It was no whim, Dr Wilmot. A wretched truth, I 
grant you, but a truth, and persisted in. So long as con- 
sciousness remained, she never changed in that." 

A dark and angry look came into Wilmot' s face, and he 
raised his voice as^he asked the next question : 


"Do you mean to explain this extraordinary circum- 
stance, Mrs Prendergast ? Are you going to give me the 
clue to this mystery ? My wife and I always lived on good 
terms ; we parted on the same. No man or woman living 
can say with truth that I ever was unkind to her, or that 
she had cause given her hy me to wish her life at an end, to 
welcome death. I believe the communication you have 
just made to me is utterly without example. I never 
heard, I don't believe any one ever heard of such a thing. 
I ask you to explain it, if you can." 

"You speak as though you asked, or desired me to 
account for it too," said Henrietta in a cold and cutting 
tone, which rebuked the vehemence of his manner, and 
revealed the intense, unsleeping egotism of her disposition. 
" I could do so, I daresay ; but I cannot see the profitable- 
ness of such a discussion between you and me. It is too 
late now ; nothing can undo the wrong, no matter what it 
was, or how far it extended. It is all over, and I have 
nothing more to do than to carry out the last wishes of my 
dear friend. Have I your permission to do so ? " she 
asked, in the most formal possible tone, as she rose and 
stood opposite him. 

Wilmot put his hands up to his face, and walked 
hurriedly about the room. Then he came suddenly towards 
Henrietta, and said with intense feeling : 

" I beg your pardon ; I did not mean to speak roughly : 
but I am bewildered by all this. I am sure you must feel 
for me ; you must understand how utterly I am unable to 
comprehend what has occurred. To come home and receive 
such a shock as the news of my wife's death, was surely 
enough in itself to try me severely. And now to hear what 
you tell me, and tell me too so calmly, as if you did not un- 
derstand what it means, and what it must be to me to hear 
it ! You were with her, her chosen friend. I think you 
knew her better than any one in the world." 


" And if I did," said Henrietta, — all her assumed calm 
gone, and her manner now as vehement as his own, — " if I 
did, is not that an answer to all you ask me ? If I am to 
explain her motives, to lay bare her thoughts, to tell her 
sorrows, to you, her husband, is that not your answer ? 
Surely you have it in that fact ! They are not true husband 
and true wife who have closer friends. You never loved 
her, and you never knew or cared what her life was ; and 
so, when she was leaving it, she kept you aloof from her." 

Wilmot made no sound in reply. He stood quite still, 
and looked at her. His eyes had grown accustomed to the 
gloom, and she had raised her veil. He could see her face 
now. Her pale cheeks, paler than usual in her grief and 
passion, her deep angry sorrowful eyes, and her trembling 
lips, made her look almost terrible, as she stood there and 
told him out the truth. 

"No," she went on, "you did not know her, and you 
were satisfied not to know her ; you went complacently on 
your way, and never thought whether hers was lonely and 
wearisome. You never were unkind to her, you say ; . no, I 
daresay you never were. She had all the advantages to 
which your wife was entitled, and she did you and them due 
honour. Why, even I, who did, as you say, know her best, 
had suspected only recently, and learned fully only since her 
illness began, all she suffered ; no, not all — that one heart 
can never pour into another — but I have only read the story 
of her life lately, and you have never read it at all. You 
were a physician, and you did not see that your own wife, a 
dweller under your own roof, whose life was lived in your 
sight, had a mortal disease." 

""What do you mean?" he said; "she had no such 

" She had ! " Henrietta repeated impetuously ; " she had 
a broken heart. You never ill-treated her — true ; you never 
neglected her — true, — until she was dying, that is to say ;— - 


but did you ever love her, Dr "Wilmot ? Did you ever con- 
sider her as other or more than an appendage of your position, 
an ornament in your house, a condition of your social success 
and respectability ? What were her thoughts, her hopes, 
her disappointments to you ? Did you ever make her your 
real companion, the true Bharer of your life ? Did you ever 
return the love, the worship which she gave you ? Did you 
ever pity her jealous nature ; did you ever interpret it by 
any love or sensitiveness of your own, and abstain from 
wounding it? Did you know, did you care, whether she 
suffered when you shut yourself up in your devotion to a 
pursuit in which she had no share ? All women have to 
bear that, no doubt, and are fools if they quarrel with the 
bread-winner's devotion to his work. Tes ; but all women 
have not her silent, brooding, jealous, sullen nature ; all 
women are not so little frivolous as she was ; all women, Dr 
"Wilmot, do not love their husbands as Mabel loved you." 

She paused in the torrent of her words, and then he spoke. 

" All this is new and terrible to me ; as new as it is 
terrible. Mrs Prendergast, do me the justice to believe that." 

" It is not for me to do you justice or injustice," she 
made answer ; " your punishment must come from your own 
heart, or you must go unpunished." 

"But" — he almost pleaded with her — "Mabel never 
b\amed me, never tried to keep me more with her ; rarely 
indeed expressed a wish of any kind. I declare, before God, 
I never dreamed, it never occurred to me to suspect that she 
was unhappy." 

"No," she said; " and Mabel knew that. She interested 
you so little, you cared so little for her, that you never 
looked below the surface of her life ; and her pride kept that 
surface fair and smooth. She would have died before she 
would have complained, — she has died, in fact, and made no 

"Tes," said Wilmot suddenly and bitterly; "but she 


has left me this legacy, brought me by your hands, of miser- 
able regret and vain repentance. She has insured the de- 
struction of my peace of mind ; she has taken care that mine 
shall be no ordinary grief, sent by God and to be dispelled 
by time ; she has added bitterness to the bitter, and put me 
utterly in the wrong by her unwarrantable concealment and 

" How truly manlike your feelings are, Dr Wilrnot ! She 
has hurt your pride, and you can't forgive her even in death ! 
She has put you in the wrong, — and all her own wrongs, so 
silently borne, sink into nothing in comparison! " 

"I deny it!" "Wilrnot said vehemently; "she had no 
wrongs, — no woman of her acquaintance had a better hus- 
band. What did I ever deny her ?" 

" Only your love, only a wife's true place in your life, 
only all she longed for, only all she died for lack of." 

" All this is absurd," he said. " If she really had these 
romantic notions, why did she conceal them ? Have I no- 
thing to complain of in this ? Was she just to me, or candid 
with me?" 

" What encouragement did you give her ? Do you think 
a proud, shy, silent woman like Mabel was likely to lay her 
heart open to so cold and careless a glance as yours ? No ; 
she loved you as few women can love ; but if she had much 
love, so she had much pride and jealousy ; and all three had 
power with her." 

" Jealousy! " said Wilrnot in an angry tone ; "in God's 
name, of whom did she contrive to be jealous." 

"Her jealousy was not of a mean kind," said Henrietta. 
" Ever since your marriage it had nourished itself, so far as 
I understood the matter, upon your devotion to your pro- 
fession, upon the complacent ease with which you set lier 
claims aside for those which so thoroughly engrossed you, 
that you had no heart, no eyes, no attention for her. Of 
late — " she paused. 


" Well ? " said Wilmot ;— " of late ? " 

" Of late," repeated Henrietta, speaking now ■with some 
more reserve of manner, " she believed you devoted — to a 
degree which conquered your devotion to your profession 
and to "the interests of your own advancement — to the patient 
who detained you at Kilsyth." 

""What madness! what utter folly!" said Wilmot; but 
his face turned deeply red, and he felt in his heart that the 
arrow had struck home. 

" Perhaps so," said Henrietta, and her voice resumed the 
cutting tone from which all through this painful interview 
Wilmot had shrunk. " But Mabel was not more reasonable 
or less so than other jealous women. You had never neg- 
lected your business for her, remember, or been turned aside 
by any sentimental attraction from your course of professional 
duty. Friendship, gratitude, and interest alike required you 
to attend to Mr Eoljambe's summons. You did not come, 
and people talked. Mr Poljambe himself spoke of the at- 
tractions of Kilsyth, and joked, after his inconsiderate 

" In her presence ? " said Wilmot incautiously. 

" Yes, in her presence," said Henrietta, who perfectly 
appreciated the slip he had made. " She knew some people 
who knew the Kilsyths, and she heard the remarks that werQ 
made, I daresay she imagined more than she heard. No 
matter. Nothing matters any more. She was not sorry to 
die when her time came ; she would not have you troubled, 
— that is all. And now I will leave you. I am going to her." 

The last sentence had a dreadful eifect on Wilmot. In 
the agitation, the surprise, the pain of this interview, he 
had almost forgotten time ; the present reality had nearly 
escaped him. He had been rapt away into a world of feel- 
ing, of passion; he had been absorbed in the sense of a 
discovery, and of something which seemed like an impossible 

injustice. With Henrietta's words it all vanished, and he 

l 2 


remembered, with a start, that his wife lay dead upstairs. 
They were not talking of a life long extinguished, which in 
former years might have been made happier by him, but of 
one which had ended only a few hours ago ; a life whose 
forsaken tenement was still untouched by " decay's effacing 
fingers." With all this new knowledge fresh upon him, 
with all this bewildering conviction of irreparable wrong, 
he might look upon the calm young face again. Not as he 
had looked upon it yesterday ; not with the deep sorrow 
and the irresistible though unjustified compassion with 
which death in youth is always regarded, but with an ex- 
ceeding and heart-rending bitterness, in comparison with 
which even that repentant grief was mild and merciful. 
The fixedness, the blank, the silence, would be far more 
dreadful, far more reproachful now, when he knew that he 
had never understood, never appreciated her — had unwit- 
tingly tortured her ; now when he knew that, in all her 
youth and beauty, she had been glad to die. Glad to die ! 
The words had a tremendous, an unbearable meaning for 
him. If even the last month could have been unlived ! If 
only he had not had that to reproach himself with, to justify 
Tier ! In vain, in vain. In that one moment of unspeakable 
suffering Wilmot felt that his punishment, however grave 
his offence, was greater than he could bear. 

He turned away from Henrietta with the air of a man 
to whom another word would be intolerable, and sat down 
wearily. She stood still looking at him, as if awaiting an 
answer or a dismissal. 

At length she said, " Have you forgotten, Dr Wilmot, 
that I asked your permission to carry out Mabel's wish ? " 

" No," he said drearily, " I remember. Of course do as 
you like ; I should say, as she directed. I suppose the ob- 
ject of her request was, that I should see her no more, in 
death either. Well, well — it is fortunate that did not suc- 
ceed too." He spoke in a patient, broken tone, which 


touched Henrietta's heart. But her perverted notion of 
truth and loyalty to the dead held her back from showing 
any sign of softening. Just as she was leaving the room 
he said : 

" Such a course is very unusual, is it not ? " 

"I believe so," she replied; "but the servants know it 
was her desire." 

Then Henrietta Prendergast went away ; and presently 
he heard a slight sound in that awful room overhead, and 
he knew she had taken her place beside the dead. He felt, 
as he sat for hours of that day quite alone, like a banished 
man. His wife was doubly dead to him now. All his 
married life had grown on a sudden unreal ; and when he 
thought of the still white face which he was to see once, 
and only once more, for ever, it was with a strange sense 
of dread and avoidance, and not with the tender sorrow 
which, even amid the shock and self-reproach of yesterday, 
had come to his relief. 

Somehow, he could not have told how, with the inevit- 
able interruptions, the wretched necessary business of such 
a time, the hours of that day passed over Chudleigh Wil- 
mot's head, and the night came. He had looked his last 
upon his wife, had taken his solemn leave of the death- 
chamber. She lay now in her coffin, sealed, hidden from 
sight for evermore, and there was nothing now but the 
long dreary waiting. In its turn that too passed, and in 
due time the funeral day ; and Chudleigh Wilmot was quite 
alone in his silent house, and had only to look back into 
the past. Forward into the future he did not dare, he had 
not heart to look. A kind of blank, the reaction from in- 
tense excitement, had set in with him, and for the first 
time in his life his physical strength flagged. The claims 
of his business began to press upon him ; people sent for 
him, respectfully and hesitatingly, but with some confidence 
that he would come, nevertheless. And Wilmot went ; 


and was received with condoling looks, which he affected 
not to see, and compassionating tones, of which he took no 

He had no more to do with the past — he had buried it ; 
his sole desire was that others should aid him in this ap- 
parent oblivion ; how far from real it was, he alone could 
have told. He had written to Kilsyth a few indispensable 
lines, and had had a formal report of Madeleine's health, 
which he had conscientiously tried to range with other pro- 
fessional documents, and lay by with them. It was cer- 
tainly a dark and dreary time, endless in length, and so 
hopeless, so final, that it seemed to have no outlet ; a time 
than which Chudleigh Wilmot believed life could never 
bring him a darker. But trouble was new to him. He 
learned more about it later on in his day. 

"When a fortnight had elapsed after Wilmot's return to 
London, and the tumult of his mind had subsided, though 
the bitterness of his feelings was not yet allayed, he chanced 
one morning to require a paper, which he knew was to be 
found in a certain cabinet which filled a niche in the wall 
of his consulting-room. The cabinet in question was one 
he rarely opened ; and the moment he attempted to turn 
the key, he felt confident that the lock had been tampered 
with. The conviction was singularly unpleasant ; for the 
cabinet was a repository of private papers, deeds, letters, 
and professional notes. It also contained several poisons, 
which Wilmot kept there in what he supposed to be in- 
violable security. Closer inspection confirmed his sus- 
picions. The lock had been opened by the simple process 
of breaking it ; and the doors, merely laid together, had 
caught on a jagged piece of metal, and thus presented the 
slight obstacle they had offered. "With a mere shake they 

This circumstance puzzled Wilmot exceedingly. He 
made a careful examination of the contents of the cabinet. 


All was precisely as he had left it ; not a paper missing or 

" "Who can have been at the cabinet ? " he thought, 
" and with what motive ? Nothing has been taken ; no- 
thing, so far as I can discover, has been touched. Mere 
curiosity would hardly tempt any one to run such a risk ; 
and no one knew that there was anything of value here. 
Stay," he reflected ; " one person knew it. She knew it ; 
she knew that I kept private papers here. No doubt it 
was she who opened the cabinet. But with what motive ? 
What can she possibly have wanted which she could have 
hoped to find here ? " 

No answer to this query presented itself to Wilmot's 
mind. He thought and thought over it, painfully recurring 
to all Mrs Prendergast had told him, and trying to help 
himself to a solution of this mystery by the aid of those 
which had preceded it. For some time he thought in vain ; 
at length the idea struck him that the jealous woman, 
restless and miserable in her unhappy curiosity — he could 
understand now what she had felt, he could pity her noio — had 
opened the cabinet to seek for letters from some fancied 
rival in his affections. Nothing but his belief in the per- 
version of mind which comes of the indulgence of such a 
passion as jealousy could have led "Wilmot to suspect his 
wife of such an act for a moment. But he was a wise 
man, now that it was too late, in that lore which he had 
never studied while he might have read the book, and he 
recognized the transforming power of jealousy. Yes, that 
was it doubtless ; she had sought here for the material 
wherewith to feed the flame that had tortured her. 

Chudleigh Wilmot took the paper he wanted from the 
place where it had lain, and was about to close the doors 
of the cabinet once more — restoring them, until he could 
have the lock repaired, to their deceptive appearance of 
security — when his attention was caught by a dark-coloured 


spot, about the size of a shilling, upon the topmost sheet of 
a packet of papers which lay beside a small mahogany case 
containing the before-mentioned poisons. He took the 
packet out and examined it. The spot was there, and ex- 
tended to every paper in the packet. A sudden flush and 
expression of vague alarm crossed Wilmot' s face. He took 
up the case and examined the exterior. A dark mark, the 
stain of some glutinous fluid, ran down the side of the box 
next which the papers had lain. For a moment he held 
the case in his hands, and literally dared not open it. Then 
in sickening fear he did so, and found its contents apparently 
undisturbed. The box was divided into ten little compart- 
ments, in each of which stood a tiny bottle, glass-stoppered 
and covered with a leaden capsule. To the neck of each 
was appended a little leaden seal, the mark of the French 
chemist from whom "Wilmot had purchased the deadly 
drugs. He took the bottles out one by one, examined 
their seals, and held them up to the light. All safe for 
nine out of the number ; but as he touched the tenth, the 
capsule with the leaden seal attached to it fell off, and 
"Wilmot discovered, with ineffable horror, that the bottle, 
which had contained one of the deadliest poisons known to 
science, was half empty. 

He set down the case, and reeled against the corner of 
the mantelshelf near him, like a drunken man. He could 
not face the idea that had taken possession of him ; he 
could not collect his thoughts. He gasped as though water 
were surging round him. Once more he took up the bottle 
and looked at it. It was only too true ; one half the con- 
tents was missing. He closed the case, and pushed it back 
into its place. It struck against something on the shelf of 
the cabinet. He felt for the object, and drew out his wife's 
seal-ring I 

And now Chudleigh "Wilmot knew what was the terror 
that had seized him. It was no longer vague ; it stood 


before him clear, defined, unconquerable ; and he groaned : 
" My God ! she destroyed herself! " 



Chudleigh Wilmot had not seen Mrs Prendergast 
since the day on which his wife's funeral had taken place ; 
and it was with equal "surprise and satisfaction that she re- 
ceived a brief but kindly-worded note from him, requesting 
her to permit him to call upon her. 

"I wonder what it's all about," she thought, as she 
wrote with deliberation and care a gracious answer in the 
affirmative. Mrs Prendergast had been thinking too since 
her friend's death, and her cogitations had had some practical 
results. It was true that Mabel Darlington had not been 
happy with Wilmot ; but Mrs Prendergast, thinking it all 
over, was not indisposed to the opinion that it was a good 
deal her own fault, and to entertain the very natural 
feminine conviction that things would have been quite other- 
wise had she been in Mabel's place. Why should she not — 
of course in due time, and with a proper observance of all 
the social decencies — hope to fill that place now ? " She 
was a practical, not a sentimental woman; but when the 
idea occurred to her very strongly, she certainly did find 
pleasure in remembering that Mabel Wilmot had been very 
much attached to her, and would perhaps have liked the 
notion of her being her successor as well as any woman ever 
really likes any suggestion of the kind, that is to say, re- 
signedly, and with an " it-might-be-worse " reservation. 

Henrietta Prendergast had cherished a very sound dis- 
like to Chudleigh Wilmot for some time ; but it was, though 


quite real — while the fact that he had chosen another than 
herself, though she had been so ready and willing to be 
chosen, was constantly impressed upon her remembrance — 
not of a lasting nature. Besides, she had had the satisfac- 
tion of making him understand very distinctly that the choice 
he had made had not been a wise one ; and ever since her 
feelings towards him had been undergoing a considerable 

How much ground had Mabel had for her jealousy of 
Miss Kilsyth ? What truth was there in the suspicions 
they had both entertained respecting the influence which his 
young patient had exercised over Wilmot ? She had no 
means of determining these questions. It would have been 
impossible for her, had she been a woman capable of such a 
meanness, to have watched "Wilmot during the interval 
which had elapsed since his wife's death. His numerous 
professional duties, the constant demands upon his time, all 
rendered her attaining any distinct knowledge of his pro- 
ceedings impossible ; and beyond the announcement in the 
Morning Post that Kilsyth of Kilsyth and his family had 
arrived in town, she knew nothing whatever concerning them. 
Henrietta Prendergast had, on the whole, been considerably 
occupied with the idea of Chudleigh Wilmot when his note 
reached her, and she prepared to receive him with feelings 
which resembled those of long-past days rather than those 
which had actuated her of late. 

It was late in the afternoon when the expected visitor 
made his appearance, and Henrietta had already begun to 
feel piqued and angry at the delay. His note indicated a 
pressing wish to see her— she had answered it promptly. 
What had made him so dilatory about availing himself of 
her permission ? 

The first look she caught of Wilmot's face convinced 
her that the motive of his visit was a grave one. He 
was pale and sedate, even to a fixed seriousness far beyond 


that which had fallen upon him after the shock of Mabel's 
death, and a painful devouring anxiety might he read in the 
troubled haggard expression of his deep-set dark eyes. He 
entered at once upon the matter which had induced him to 
_ask Mrs Prendergast for an interview ; and though her man- 
ner was emphatically gracious, and designed to show him 
that she desired to maintain their former relations intact, he 
took no notice of her courtesy This was a mistake. All 
women are quick to take cognizance of a slight, and Hen- 
rietta was no slower than the rest of her sex. He showed 
her much too plainly that he had an object in seeking her 
presence entirely unconnected with herself. It was not 
wise ; but the shock of the discovery which he had made had 
shaken Wilmot's nerves and overthrown his judgment for 
the time. He briefly informed Mrs Prendergast that he 
came for the purpose of asking her to recapitulate all the 
circumstances of his wife's illness and death ; to entreat her 
to tax her memory to the utmost, to recall everything, how- 
ever trivial, bearing upon the progress of the malady, and in 
particular every detail bearing upon her state of mind. 

Henrietta listened to him with profound astonishment. 
Previously he had shunned all such details. When she had 
met him, prepared to supply them, he had asked her no 
questions ; he had been apparently satisfied with the medical 
report made to him by Dr Whittaker ; he had been almost 
indifferent to such minor facts as she had stated ; and the 
painful revelation which she had made to him had not been 
followed up by any close questioning on his part. And now, 
when all was at an end, when the grave had closed over the 
sad domestic story, as over all the tragedies of human life, 
hidden or displayed, the grave must close, — now he came to 
her with this preoccupied brooding face and manner to ask 
her these vain and painful questions. Thus she was newly 
associated with dark and dismal images in his mind, and this 
was precisely what Henrietta had no desire to be. She 


answered him, therefore, in her coldest tone (and no woman 
knew how to ice her answers better than she did), that the 
subject was extremely painful to her for many reasons. "Was 
it absolutely necessary to revive it ? Wilmot said it was, 
and expressed no consideration for her feelings nor regret for 
the necessity of wounding them. 

" Well, then, Dr Wilmot," said Henrietta, " as I presume 
you wish to question me in some particular direction, though 
I am quite at a loss to understand why, you are at liberty to 
do so." 

Wilmot then commenced an interrogatory, which, as it 
proceeded, filled Henrietta with amazement. Had he any 
theory of his wife's illness and death incompatible with the 
facts as she had seen and understood them ? Did he suspect 
Dr Whittaker of ignorance and mismanagement in the case ? 
Even supposing he did, what would it avail him now to con- 
vince himself that such suspicion was well founded? All 
was inevitable, all was irreparable now. While these thoughts 
were busy in her brain, she was answering question after 
question put to her by Wilmot in a cold voice, and with her 
steady neutral-tinted eyes fixed in pitiless scrutiny upon him. 
He asked her in particular about the period at which Mabel 
had suppressed Dr Wbittaker's letter to him. Had she 
been particularly unhappy just then ; had the " unfortunate 
notion she had conceived about — about Miss Kilsyth, been 
in her mind before, or just at that time ? " 

This question Mrs Prendergast could not, or would not, 
answer very distinctly. She did not remember exactly when 
Mabel had heard so much about Miss Kilsyth ; she did not 
know what day it was on which Dr Whittaker had written. 
Wilmot produced the letter, and pointed out the date. Still 
Mrs Prendergast's memory refused to aid her reliably. She 
really did not know ; she could not answer this. Could she 
remember whether Mabel had ever left her room after that 
letter had been written ? or whether she had been confined 


to 'her room when she had received his (Wilmot's) letter 
from Kilsyth ; the letter which Mrs Prendergast had said 
had distressed her so much, had brought about the confidence 
between Mabel and herself relative to the feelings of the 
former, and had led Mabel to say that she had no desire to 
live ? Wilmot awaited the reply to these questions in a 
state of suspense not far removed from agony. He could 
not indeed permit himself to cherish a hope that the dreadful 
idea he entertained was unfounded ; but in the answer awful 
confirmation or the germ of hope must lie. 

Henrietta replied, after a few moments' thoughtful silence. 
She could remember the circumstances, though not the pre- 
cise date. Mabel had left her room on the day on which she 
had received Wilmot's letter ; she had been in the drawing- 
rooms, and even in the consulting-room on that day. It was 
on the night that she had told Mrs Prendergast all, and had 
expressed her desire to die, her conviction that she could not 
recover. Henrietta was not certain whether that day wa3 
the same as that on which Dr Whittaker's letter was written, 
but she was perfectly clear on the point on which Wilmot 
appeared to lay so much stress ; she knew it was the day 
after his last letter from Kilsyth had reached her. 

The intense suffering displayed in every line of Wilmot's 
face as she made this statement touched Henrietta as much 
as it puzzled her. Had she mistaken this man ? Had he 
really deep feelings, strong susceptibilities ? Had the shock 
of his wife's death been far otherwise felt than she had be- 
lieved, and was he now groping after every detail, in order to 
feed the vain flame of love and memory ? Such a supposition 
accorded very ill with all she knew and all she imagined of 
Chudleigh Wilmot ; but she could find no other within her 
not infertile brain. 

" What became of my letter to her ? " Wilmot asked her 

" It is in her coffin, together with every other you ever 


wrote her. I placed them there at her own. request. She 
had them tied up in a packet, — the others I mean ; but she 
gave me that one separately." 

" "Why ? " asked Wilmot in a hoarse whisper. 

" Why ! " repeated Henrietta. " I don't know. It was 
only a few hours before she died. She hardly spoke at all 
after, but she told me quite distinctly that I was to give you 
her wedding-ring, and to place those letters in her coffin. 
' I could not destroy those,' she said, touching the packet in 
my hand ; ' and this,' she drew it from under her pillow as 
she spoke, 'I want to be placed with me too. It is my jus- 
tification.' " 

" My justification ! " repeated Wilmot. " "What did she 
mean ? What did you understand that she meant by that ? " 

" I did not think much about it. The poor thing was 
near her end then, and I thought little of it ; though of 
course I did what she desired." 

"Yes, yes, I understand," said Wilmot. "But her jus- 
tification — justification in what — for what ? " 

" In her gloomy and miserable ideas, of course, and, 
above all, in her desire to die. She believed that your letter 
contained the proof of all she feared and suffered from, and 
so justified her longing to escape from further neglect and 

" Tou did not suspect that it had any further meaning ? " 

Henrietta stared at him in silence. 

" I beg your pardon," he said ; " my mind is confused by 
anxiety. I' am afraid, Mrs Prendergast^ there may have been 
features in this case not rightly understood. Could it be 
that Whittaker was deceived ? " 

" I think not — I cannot believe that there was any error. 
Dr Wkittakar never expressed any anxiety on that point, 
any uncertainty, any wish to divide the responsibility, except 
with yourself. I understood him to say that he had gone 
into the case very fully with you, and that you were satisfied 


everything had been done within the resources of medicine." 

" Yes, he did. I don't blame him ; I don't blame any- 
one but myself. But, Mrs Prendergast, that is not the point. 
"What I want to get at is this : did she — my wife I mean — 
did she hide anything from "Whittaker's knowledge ? " 

" Anything ? In her physical state do you mean ? Of 
her mental sufferings no one but myself ever had the smallest 
indication. Will you wrong her dead as well as living?" 
said Henrietta angrily. 

" No," he answered, " I will not, — I trust I will not, and 
do not. I meant did she tell Whittaker all about her illness ? 
Did she conceal any symptoms from him ? Did she suffer 
more or otherwise than he knew of ? " 

" Frankly, I think she did, Dr Wilmot. She was ex- 
tremely, almost painfully patient ; I would much rather have 
seen her less so. She answered his questions and mine, but 
she said nothing except in answer to questioning. She 
suffered, I am convinced, infinitely more than she allowed to 
appear ; and especially on the night of her death, just before 
the stupor set in, she was in great agony." 

" Yes," said Wilmot hurriedly. " Was Whittaker there ? 
Did he know it ? " 

" He was not there ; he had been sent for a little while 
before, when she was tranquil ; and she was quite insensible 
when he returned in about three hours. He told you, of 
course, that we had had good hope of her during the day, — 
in fact, up to the evening ? " 

" Yes, he said there had been a rally, but it had not 
lasted. Did she know that there was hope ? " 

" She did," said Henrietta slowly and reluctantly. " You 
ask me very painful questions, Dr Wilmot, — painful to me 
in the extreme ; and I am sure my answers must be acutely 
distressing to you. I cannot understand your motive." 

" Xo," he said, " I am sure you cannot ; neither can I 
explain it. But indeed I am compelled to put these gues« 


tions ; I cannot spare either you or myself. You say she 
knew there was hope of her recovery on the day before her 
death ; and yet while the rally lasted, — before the suffering 
of which you speak set in, — she gave you those solemn 
charges which you fulfilled ? " 

" Yes," said Henrietta — and her voice was soft now and 
her eyes were full of tears — " she did. She did not trust the 
rally. She told me, with such a dreadful smile, that it would 
not avail to keep her from her rest. She was right. From 
the moment she grew worse the progress of death was 
awfully rapid." 

" What medicine did you give her during the brief im- 
provement ?" 

" Only some restorative drops. Dr Whittaker gave 
them to her himself several times, and when he left I gave 
them to her." 

" Did she ever take this medicine of her own accord ? 
"Was she strong enough in the interval of improvement to 
take medicine, or to move without assistance ? " 

Again Henrietta looked at him for a little while before 
she' replied : 

" If you are afraid, Dr Wilmot, that any mistake was 
made about the medicine, dismiss such a fear. There was no 
other medicine in the room but the bottle containing the 
drops ; and now your strange question reminds me that she 
did take them once unassisted." 

Wilmot rose and came towards her. 

" How ? when ? " he said eagerly. " How could she do 
so in her weak state ? " 

" The bottle was on the table, close by her bed. Only 
one dose was left. She had asked me to raise the window- 
blind ; and I was doing so, when she stretched out her arm 
and took the bottle off the table. When I turned round 
she was drinking the last drops, and the next moment she 
dropped the bottle on the floor, and it was broken." 


" Was she fainting, thou ? " 

" O no," said Henrietta, "she was quite sensible, until 
the pain came on. Indeed I remember that she told me to 
keep away from the bed until the broken glass had been 
swept up." 

" Was that done ? " 

" Yes, I did it myself at once." 

" One more question, Mrs Prendergast," said Wilmot, 
who had put a strong constraint upon himself, and spoke 
calmly now. " AVken did she charge you to have her coffin 
closed within two days of her death ? Was it within the 
interval during which her recovery seemed possible? " 

"It was," answered Henrietta, — "it was when she told 
me that the rally was deceitful, and was not to keep her 
from her rest. Then I undertook to carry out her wish." 

" Did she give any reason for having formed it ? " 

" She did — the reason you surmised when I first told you 
of it. I need not repeat it." 

" I would wish you to do so — pray let me hear the exact 
words she said." 

" Well, then, they were these. 'You will promise me to 
see it done, Henrietta. He cannot get home, even supposing 
he could leave at once, when he hears that I am dead, until 
late on the second day.' I told her it was an awful thing 
that she should wish you not to see her again, and she said, 
' Xo, no, it is not. If he thinks of my face at all, I want 
him to see it in his memory as it was when I thought he 
liked to look at it. I could not bear him to remember it 
black and disfigured.' These were her exact words, Dr 
Wilmot ; and like all the rest she said, they proved to me 
how much she loved you." 

Wilmot made no answer, and neither spoke for some 
minutes. Then Wilmot extended his hand, which Henrietta 
took with some cordiality, and said, " I thank you very much, 
Mrs Prendergast, for the patience with which you have 


heard me and answered me. I have no explanation to give 
you. I shall never forget your kindness to my wife, and I 
hope we shall always be good friends." 

He pressed her hand warmly as he spoke ; and before 
Henrietta could reply, he left her to cogitations as vain and 
unsatisfactory as they were absorbing and unceasing. 

Chudleigh "Wilmot went direct to his own house after 
his interview with Henrietta, and gave himself up to the 
emotions which, possessed him. Not a shadow of doubt 
did he now entertain that his wife had destroyed herself. 
In the skill and ingenuity with which he invested the act, 
in his active fancy, which had read the story from the 
unconscious narrative of Henrietta, he recognized a touch 
of insanity, which his experience taught him was not very 
rare in cases similar to that of his wife. To a certain 
extent he was relieved by the conviction that when she had 
done the irrevocable deed she was not in her right mind. 
But what had led to it ? what had been the predis- 
posing causes ? His conscience, awakened too late, his 
heart, softened too late, gave him a stern and searching 
answer. Her life had been unhappy, and she had made her 
escape from it. He was as much to blame as if he had 
voluntarily and actively made her wretched. He saw this 
now by the light of that keener susceptibility, that higher 
understanding, which had been kindled within him. It 
had been kindled by the magic touch of love. Another 
woman had made him see into his wife's heart, and under- 
stand her life. "What was he to do now ? how was it to 
be with him in the future ? He hardly dared to think. 
Sometimes his mind dwelt on the possibility that it might 
not be as he believed it was, and the only means of 
resolving his doubts suggested itself. He might have 
Mabel's body exhumed, and then the truth would be 
known. But he shrank with horror from the thought, as 
from a dishonour to her memory. If he took such a step, 
it must be accounted for ; and could he, would he dare to 


cast such a slur upon the woman who, if she had done this 
deed, had. resorted to it because, as his wife, she was 
miserable? Had he any right, supposing it was all a 
dreadful delusion, that she had meddled with his poisons 
for some trivial motive, however inexplicable, — had he any- 
right to solve his own doubts at such a price as their 
exposure to cold official eyes ? No — a resolute negative 
was the reply of his heart to these questions ; and he made 
up his mind that his punishment must be lifelong irre- 
mediable doubt, to be borne with such courage as he could 
summon, but never to be escaped from or left behind. 

Utter sickness of heart fell upon him and a great 
weariness. From the past he turned away with vain 
terrible regret ; to the future he dared not look. The 
present he loathed. He must leave that house, he thought 
impatiently — he could not bear the sight of it. It had 
none of the dear and sorrowful sacredness which makes 
one cling to the home of the loved and lost ; it was hateful 
to him ; for there the life his indifference, his want of com- 
prehension, had blighted, had been terminated — he shud- 
dered as he thought by what means. And then he thought 
he would leave England ; he could not see Madeleine 
Kilsyth again; or if he had'to do so, he could not see her 
often. To think of her, in her innocent youth and beauty, 
as one to be loved or wooed, or won — if even in his most 
distant dreams such a possibility were approached by a 
man whose life had such a story in it, such a dreadful 
truth, setting him apart from other men — was almost 
sacrilegious. ~No, he would go away. Eate had dealt him 
a tremendous blow ; he could not stand against it ; he 
must yield to it for the present, at all events. Under the 
influence of the terrible truth which he was forced to con- 
front, all his ambition, all his energy, seemed suddenly to 
have deserted the rising man. 

M 2 


" But, my dear fellow, I can't bring myself to believe 
that you are serious ; I ean't indeed, just as the ball is at 
your foot too. I protest I expected you to distance them 
all in another year. Everybody talks of you ; and what is 
infinitely better, every one is ready to call you in if they 
require your services or fancy they require them. "Why, 
there's Kilsyth of Kilsyth — ah, Wilmot, you threw me over 
in that direction, but I don't bear malice — he swears by 
you. The fine old fellow came to the bank yesterday ; I 
met him in the hall, and he got into my brougham, and 
came home with me, for no other reason on earth than to 
talk about you. Wilmot's skill and Wilmot's coolness, 
Wilmot's kindness and Wilmot's care — nothing but Wil- 
mot. I should have been bared to death by so much talk- 
ing all about one man, if it had been any man but yourself. 
And now to tell me that you are going away, going to make 
a gap in your life, going to give up the running, and for- 
feit such prospects as yours — because you must remember, 
my dear fellow, you must not calculate on resuming 
exactly where you have left off, in any sort of game of life; 
to do .such a thing as this because you have met with a loss 
which thousands of men have to bear, and work on just as 
usual notwithstanding ! Impossible, my dear Wilmot; 
you are not in earnest — you have not considered the 
thing ! " 

Thus emphatically spoke Mr Eoljambe to Chudleigh 
Wilmot, all the more emphatically because his friend's 
resolution had astonished as much as it had displeased and 
disquieted him. Mr Foljambe had never looked upon 
A\ r ilmot at all in the light of a particularly devoted hus- 
band ; and when he alluded to the loss of a wife being one 
which he had to bear in common with many other sufferers, 
he had done so with a shrewd conviction that Wilmot must 
be trusted to find all the fortitude necessary for the 




Mr Foljambe, of Portland-place, was a very ricli and 
influential banker; gouty enough, to bear out the tradition 
of his wealth,'and courteous and wise enough to do credit 
to his calling. He was not describable as a City man, 
however, but was, on the contrary, a pleasure and fashion- 
loving old gentleman, who was perfectly versed in the ways 
of society, au courant of all the gossip of "town," very 
popular in the gayest and in the most select circles, an 
authority upon horses, though he never rode, learned in 
wines, though he consumed them in great moderation, 
believed not to possess a relative in the world, and more 
attached to Chudleigh "Wilmot than to any human being 
alive, at his present and advanced period of existence. The 
old gentleman and Chudleigh Wilmot's father had been 
chums in boyhood and friends in manhood ; and the friend- 
ship he felt for the younger man was somewhat hereditary, 
though Wilmot's qualities were precisely of a nature to 
have won Mr Foljambe's regard on their own merits. He 
had watched Wilmot's course with the utmost interest, 
pride, and pleasure. His unflagging industry, his deter- 
mined energy, commanded his sympathy ; and he anticipated 
a triumphant career of professional success and renown for 
his favourite. The intelligence that he had determined, if 
not to relinquish, at least to suspend his professional 
labours, gave the kind old gentleman sincere concern. He 
did not understand it, he - repeated over and over again ; 
he could not make it out ; it was not like Wilmot. Of 
course he could not say distinctly to him that he had never 
supposed his wife to be so dear to him that her death must 
needs revolutionize his life. But if he did not say this, 
Wilmot discerned it in his manner; but still he offered 
no explanation. He could not remain in England ; he 
must go. His health, his mind would give way, if he did 
not get away into another scene, into new associations. 
All remonstrance, all argument, proved unavailing; and 



when Wilmot bade his old friend farewell, he left him half 
angry and half mistrustful, as well as altogether depressed 
and sorrowful. 



She has destroyed herself ! That was the keynote to 
all his thoughts. Destroyed herself, made away with her- 
self ! Destroyed herself! He was not much of a reading 
man — had not time for it in all his occupations ; but what 
were those two lines which would keep surging up into his 
beating brain, and from time to time finding expression on 
his trembling tongue — 

" Rashly importunate, 
Gone to her death ! " 

Gone to her death ! He repeated the words a thousand 
times. Dead now; gone to her last account, as Shake- 
speare says, " with all her imperfections on her head." 
Q-one, without chance or power of recall ; gone without a 
word of explanation between them, without a word of 
sympathy, without a word of forgiveness on either side. 
He had often pictured their parting, he dying, she dying, 
and had imagined the scene ; how, whichever of them found 
life ebbing away, would say that they had misunderstood 
the other perhaps, and that perhaps life might have been 
made more to each, had they been more suitable ; but that 
they had been faithful, and so on ; and perhaps hereafter 
they might, &c. He had thought of this often ; but the 
end had come now ; and his ideas had not been realized. 
There had been no parting, no mutual forgiveness, no last 


words of tenderness and hope. He had not been there to 
soothe her dying hour ; to tell her how he acknowledged 
all her goodness, and how, though perhaps he had not 
made much outward manifestation, he had always tho- 
roughly appreciated the discharge of her wifely duties to 
him. He had not been present to have one whispered 
explanation of how each had misunderstood the other, and 
how both had been in the wrong ; to share in one common 
prayer for forgiveness, and one common hope of future 
meeting. There had been no explanation, no forgiveness ; 
he had parted from her almost as he might from any every- 
day acquaintance ; he had written to her such a letter 
as he might have written to Whittaker, who had taken his 
practice temporarily ; and now he returned to find her 
dead ! "Worse than dead ! Dead probably by her own 
act, by her own hand ! 

Stay ! He was losing his head now ; his pulse was at 
fever-heat, his skin dry and hot, "Why had this terrible 
supposition taken such fast hold upon him ? There was 
the evidence of the ring and of the leaden seal. Certainly 
practical evidence ; but the motive— where was the motive ? 
Suppose now — and a horrible shudder ran through him as 
the supposition crossed his mind — suppose now that this 
had become a matter for legal inquiry ? suppose — Heaven 
knows how — suppose that the servants had suspected, and 
had talked, and — and the law had interfered — what motive 
would have been put forward for Mabel's self-destruction ? 
He and she had never had a word of contention since their 
marriage ; no one could prove that there had ever been the 
smallest disagreement between them ; her homo had been 
such as befitted her station ; no word could be breathed 
against her husband's character ; and yet— , 

"Anywhere, anywhere, 
Out of the world!" 


that was another couplet from the same poem that was 
fixed in his brain, and that he found himself constantly- 
quoting, when he was trying to assign reasons for his 
wife's suicide. Was Henrietta Prendergast right, after 
all ? Had his whole married life been a mistake, a Dead- 
Sea apple without even the gorgeous external, a hollow 
sham, a delusion, and a mockery culminating in the sem- 
blance of a crime? "Anywhere out of the world," eh? 
And " out of the world " had meant at first, in the early 
days, when the first faint dawnings of discontent rose in 
her mind, — then " anywhere out of the world " was a poor 
dejected cry of repining at her want of power to influence 
her husband, to make herself the successful rival of his 
profession, to wean him from the constant pursuit of 
science to the exclusion of all domestic bliss, and to render 
him her companion and her lover. But if Henrietta Pren- 
dergast were right, that must have been a mere fancy, 
which, compared to the wild despair that prompted the 
heart-broken shriek of " anywhere out of the world " at the 
last, and which, according to that authority, meant — any- 
Avhere for rest and peace and quiet, anywhere where I may 
stifle the love which I bear him, may be no longer a fetter 
and a clog to him, and might have to suffer the knowledge 
that though bound to me, he loves Madeleine Kilsyth. 

He loves Madeleine Kilsyth ! As the thought rose in his 
mind, he found himself audibly repeating the sentence. His 
dead wife thought that ; and in that thought found life 
insupportable to her, and destroyed herself! His dead 
wife ! Straightway his thoughts flew back through a 
series of years, and he saw himself first married, — young, 
earnest, and striving. Not in love with his wife — that he 
never had been, he reflected with something like self-excuse 
■ — -not in love with Mabel, but actually proud of her. 
When he first commenced his connection, and earned the 
gratitude of the great railway contractor's wife at Clapham, 


and that great dame, who was the ruling star in her own 
circle, intimated her intention of calling on Mrs "Wilmot, 
Wilmot remembered how ho had thanked his stars that 
while some of his fellow-students had married barmaids of 
London taverns, or awkward hoydens from their provincial 
pasture, he had had the good luck to espouse a girl than 
whom the great Mrs Sleepers herself was not more tho- 
roughly presentable, more perfectly well-mannered. He 
recollected the first interview at his little, modest, badly- 
furnished house, with the dingy maid-servant decorated 
with one of Mabel's cast-off gowns (not cast off until 
every scrap of bloom had been ruthlessly worn off it), and 
the arrival of the great lady in her banging, swinging 
barouche, with her tawdry ill-got-up footman, and her 
evident astonishment at the way in which everything was 
made the most of, and at the taste which characterized the 
rooms, and her open-mouthed wonder at Mabel herself, in 
her turned black-silk dress and her neat linen cuffs and 
collar, and her impossibility to patronize, and her declara- 
tion delivered to him the next day, that his wife was " the 
nicest little woman in the world, and a real lady ! " 

Out of the gloom of long-since vanished days came a 
thousand little reminiscences, each " garlanded with its pe- 
culiar flower," each touchingly remindful of something 
pleasant connected with the dead woman whom he had lost. 
Long dreary nights which he had passed in reading and 
working, and which she had spent in vaguely wondering 
what was to be the purport and result of all his labour. No 
sympathy ! that had been his cry ! Good God ! — as though 
he had not been demented in fancying that a young woman 
could have had sympathy with his dry studies, his physiologi- 
cal experiments. No sympathy ! what sympathy had he shown 
to her r The mere physical struggle in the race, the hope of 
winning, the dawning of success, had irradiated Ins life, had 
softened the stony path, and pushed aside the briers, and 


tempered the difficulties in his career; but how had she 
benefited ? In sharing them ? But had he permitted her 
to share them ? had he ever made her a portion of himself ? 
had he not laughed aside the notion of her entering into the 
htal affairs of his career, and told her that any assistance 
from her was an impossibility ? That she was self-contained 
and unsympathetic, he had said to himself a thousand times. 
Now, for the first time, he had asked himself who had made 
her so ; — and the answer was anything but consoling to him 
in his then desolate frame of mind. 

These thoughts were constantly present to him ; he found 
it impossible to shake them off; in the few minutes' interval 
between the exit of one patient and the entrance of another, 
in his driving from house to house, his mind instantly gave 
up the case with which it had recently been occupied, and 
turned back to the dead woman. He would sit apparently 
looking vacantly before him, but- in reality trying to recall 
the looks, words, ways of his dead wife. He tried — oh, how 
hard ! — to recall one look of content, of happiness, of thorough 
trust and love ; but he tried in vain. A general expression 
of quiet suffering, which had become calm through continu- 
ance, varied by an occasional glance of querulous impatience 
when he might have been betrayed into dilating on the im- 
portance of some case in which he happened to be engaged 
and the interest with which it filled him,— these were his 
only recollections of Mabel's looks. Nor did his remem- 
brance of her words and ways afford him any more comfort. 
True she had never said, certainly had never said to him, that 
her life was anything but a happy one ; but she had looked 
it often. Even he felt that now, reading her looks by the 
light of memory, and wondered that the truth had never 
struck him at the time. He remembered how he would 
look up off his work and see her, her hands lying listlessly 
in her lap, her eyes staring vacantly before, so entranced, so 
rapt in her own thoughts, that she would start violently 


when he spoke to her. She always had the same answer for 
his questions at those times. "What was the matter with 
her? Nothing! What should be the matter with her? — 
What was she thinking of? Nothing, at least nothing that 
could possibly interest him. Did her presence there annoy 
him, because she would go away willingly if it did ? And 
the voice in which this was said — the cold, hard, dry, un- 
sympathizing voice ! Good God ! if he had not been suf- 
ficiently mindful of her, if he had not bestowed such atten- 
tion aud aifection as is due from a husband to his wife, surely 
there was some small excuse for him in the manner in which 
his clumsy approaches had been received ! 

At times he felt a wild inexplicable desire to have her 
back again with him, and fell into a long train of thought as 
to what he should do supposing all the events of the past 
three months were to turn out to have been a dream — as in- 
deed he often fancied they would ; and on his return he were 
to go up into the drawing-room, whither he had never pene- 
trated since his return, and were to find Mabel sitting there, 
prim and orderly, among the prim and orderly furniture. 
Should he alter his mode of life, and endeavour to make it 
more acceptable to her ? How was it to be done ? It would 
be impossible for him now to give up his confirmed ways ; 
impossible for him to give up his reading and his work, and 
fritter away his evenings in takiDg his wife to the gaieties 
to which they were invited. Perkins might do that — did it, 
and found it answer ; but the profession knew that Perkins 
was a charlatan, and he — What wild nonsense was he think- 
ing of ! It was done — it was over ; he should never find his 
wife waiting for him again when he returned : she was dead ; 
she had destroyed herself ! 

As this horrible thought burst upon him again with ten- 
fold its original horror, he buried his face in his hands, and 
bowed his head upon the writing-table iu front of him in 
an agony of despair. He could bear it no longer ; it was 


driving him mad. If he only knew — and yet he dared not 
inquire more closely ; the presumptive evidence was hor- 
ribly strong, was thoroughly sufficient to rob him of his 
peace of mind, of his clearness of intellect. Then the 
terrible consequences of the discovery, the awful duty which 
it imposed upon him, flashed upon his labouring conscious- 
ness. He dared not inquire more closely ? No, not he. 
As a physician he knew perfectly well what the result of 
any such inquiry would be. He knew perfectly well that 
in any other case, where he was merely professionally and 
not personally interested, his first idea for the solution of 
such doubts as then oppressed him, had they existed in any 
one else, would have been to suggest the exhumation of the 
body, and its rigid examination. He knew perfectly well 
that, harbouring such doubts as were then racking and tor- 
turing his distracted mind, it was clearly his duty to insist 
on such steps being taken. He was no squeamish woman, 
no nervous man, to be alarmed at the sight of death's dread 
handiwork ; that was familiar to him from constant experi- 
ence, from old hospital custom, from his education and his 
studies. Should this dread idea of Mabel's self-destruction, 
now ever haunting him, ever present to his mind — should it 
cross the thoughts of any one else, would not the necessity 
for exhumation be the first notion that would present itself? 
Suppose he were to suggest it ? Suppose he were to pro- 
fess himself dissatisfied with the accounts of Mabel's illness 
given him by Whittaker, and were to insist upon positive 
proof, professionally satisfactory to him, of his wife's disease ? 
Of course he would make a deadly enemy of Whittaker ; 
but that he thought but little of: his name stood high 
enough to bear any slur that might be thrown upon it from 
that quarter, and his reputation would stand higher than 
ever from the mere fact of his boldly determining to face a 
disagreeable inquiry, rather than allow such a case to be 
slurred over. And the inquiry made, and Whittaker's state- 


ment proved to be generally correct, at best it would be 
thought that Dr Wilmot was somewhat morbidly anxious 
as to the cause of his wife's death ; an anxiety which would 
be anything but prejudicial to him in the minds of many of 
his friends, while the relief to his own overcharged mind 
would be immediate and complete. Eelief ! Ah, once more 
to feel relief would be worth all the responsibility. He 
would see about it at once ; he would give the necessary in- 
formation, and — But suppose the result did not turn out as 
he could hope to see it ? suppose all the information given, 
the coroner's warrant obtained, the exhumation made, the 
examination complete, and the result — that Mabel had de- 
stroyed herself ? The first step taken in such a matter would 
be an immediate challenge to public attention ; the press 
would bear the whole matter broadcast on its wings ; Dr 
"Wilmot and his domestic affairs would become a subject for 
gossip throughout the land ; and if it proved that Mabel had 
destroyed herself, her memory would, at his instance, re- 
main ever crime-tainted. Even if the best happened ; if 
Whittaker's judgment were indorsed, would not people ask 
whether it was not odd that a suspicion of foul play should 
have crossed the husband's mind, whether Mrs> Wilmot in 
her lifetime may not have used such a threat ; and if so, might 
not the circumstances which led to the supposed use of the 
threat be inquired into, the motives questioned, the home- 
life discussed? Hour after hour he revolved this in his 
mind, purposeless, wavering. Finally he decided that he 
would leave matters as they were, saying to himself that 
such a course was merely justice to his dead wife, on whose 
memory, were she guilty of self-slaughter, he should be the 
last to bring obloquy, or even suspicion. He felt more com- 
fortable after having come to this decision — more comfort- 
able in persuading himself that he was guided by a tender 
feeling towards the dead woman. He said " Poor Mabel ! " 
tj himself several times in thinking over it, and shook his 


head dolefully ; and actually felt that if she had been 
prompted by his neglect to take this step, his omitting to 
call public attention to it was in itself some amende for his 
neglect. But even to himself he would not allow this soul- 
guiding influence in the matter. He blinked it, and shut 
his eyes to it ; refused to listen to 'it, and — was led by it all 
tire same. Chudleigh Wilmot tried to persuade himself, 
did persuade himself, that he was acting solely in deference 
to his dead wife's memory ; but what really influenced his 
conduct was the knowledge that the arousal of the smallest 
suspicion as to the cause of his wife's death, the smallest 
scandal about himself, would inevitably separate him hope- 
lessly, and for ever, from Madeleine Kilsyth. The great 
question as to whether Mabel had destroyed herself still re- 
mained unanswered. He was powerless to shake off the 
impression, and under the impression he was useless ; he 
could do justice neither to himself nor his patients. He 
must get away ; give up practice at least for a time, and go 
abroad ; . go somewhere where he knew no one, and where he 
himself was quite unknown — somewhere where he could have 
rest and quiet and surcease of brain-work ; where he could 
face this dreadful incubus, and either get rid of it, or school 
himself to bear it without its present dire effect on his life. 

He would do that, and do it at once. The death of his 
wife would afford him sufficient excuse to the world, which 
knew him as a highly nervous and easily impressible man, 
and which would readily understand that he had been shat- 
tered by the suddenness of the blow. As to his practice, he 
was well content to give that up for a short time : he knew 
his own value without being in the least conceited — knew 
that he could pick it up again just where he left it, and that 
his patients would be only too glad to see him. He had 
felt that when he was at Kilsyth. 

At Kilsyth ! The word jarred upon him at once. To 
give up his practice even for a time meant a temporary 


estrangement from Madeleine ; meant a shutting out, so far 
as lie was concerned, of sun and warmth and light and life, 
at the very time when his way was darkest and his path most 
beset. His mind had been so fully occupied since his re- 
turn, that he had only been able to give a few fleeting 
thoughts to Madeleine. He felt a kind of horror at permit- 
tinc her even in his thoughts to be connected with the dread- 
ful subject which filled them. But now when the question 
of departure was being considered by him, he naturally 
turned to Madeleine. 

To leave London now would be to throw away for ever 
his chance with Madeleine Kilsyth. His chance with her ? 
Tes, his chance of winning her ! He was a free man now — 
free to take his place among her suitors, and try his chance 
of winning her for himself. How wonderful that seemed to 
him, to be unfettered, to be free to woo where he liked ! 
Last time he had drifted into marriage carelessly and without 
purpose — it should be very different the next time. But to 
leave London now would be throwing away for ever his 
chance with Madeleine. He knew that ; he knew that he 
had established a claim of gratitude on the family, which 
Kilsyth himself, at all events, would gladly allow, and which 
Lady Muriel would probablynot be prepared to deny. As 
for Madeleine herself, he knew that she was deeply grateful 
t» him, and thoroughly disposed to confide in him. This 
was all he had dared to hope hitherto ; but now he was in a 
position to try and awaken a warmer feeling. Gratitude 
was not a bad basis to begin on, and he hoped, he did not 
know it was so long since the days of Maria Strutt— and 
thinking it over, he looked blankly in the glass at the crows'- 
feet round his eyes and the streaks of silver in his dark hair ; 
but he thought then that he had the art of pleasing women, 
unfortunate as was the result of that particular case. But if 
he were to go away, the advantageous position he had so 
luckily gained would be lost, the ground would be cut away 


from under his feet, and on his return he would have great 
difficulty in being received on a footing of intimacy by the 
family ; while it would probably be impossible for him to 
regain the confidence and esteem he then enjoyed from all of 

Was, then, Madeleine Kilsyth a necessary ingredient in 
his future happiness ? That was a new subject for consider- 
ation. Hitherto, while that— that harrier existed, he had 
looked upon the whole affair merely as a strange sort of 
romance, in which ideas and feelings of which he had never 
had much experience, and that experience long ago, had sud- 
denly revived within him. Pleasantly enough ; for it was 
pleasant to know that his heart had not yet been enough 
trodden down and hardened by the years which had gone 
over it to prevent it receiving seed and bearing fruit ; — 
pleasantly enough ; for an exchange of the stern reality of 
his work, a dry world with the bevy of cares which are ready 
waiting for you as you emerge from your morning's tub, and 
which only disappear— to change into nightmares- — as you 
extinguish your bed-room gas — an exchange of this for a 
little of that glamour of love which he thought never to meet 
with again, could not fail to be pleasant. But the affair was 
altered now ; the occurrence which had made him free had 
at the same time rendered it necessary that he should use 
his freedom to a certain end. Under former circumstances 
he could have been frequently in Madeleine's company, — 
happy as he never had been save when with her,— and the 
world would have asked no question, have lifted no eyebrow, 
have shrugged no shoulder. Dr Wilmot was a married 
man, and his professional position warranted his visiting 
Miss Kilsyth, who was his patient, as often as he thought 
necessary. But now it was a very different matter. Here 
was a man, still young, at least quite young enough to marry 
again ; and if it were said, as it would be, that he was " con- 
stantly at the house," people — those confounded anonymous 


persons, the on who do such an enormous amount of mischief 
in the world — would begin to talk and whisper and hint ; 
and the girl's name might be compromised through him, and 
that would never do. 

Did he love her ? did he want to marry her r As he 
asked himself the question, his thoughts wandered back to 
Kilsyth. He saw her lying flushed and fevered, her long 
golden hair tossing over her pillow, a bright light in her blue 
eyes, her hot hands clasped behind her burning head — or, 
better still, in her convalescence, when she lay stdl and 
tranquil, and looked up at him timidly and softly, and 
thanked him in the fullest and most liquid tones for all his 
idndness to her. And he remembered how, gazing at her, 
listening to her, the remembrance of what Love really was 
had come to him out of the far-away regions of the Past, and 
had moved his heart within him in the same manner, but 
much more potently than it had been moved in the days of 
his youth. Tes ; the question that he had put to himself 
admitted but of one answer. He did love Madeleine Kil- 
syth ; he did want to marry her ! To that end he would 
employ all his energies ; to secure that he would defer every- 
thing. "What nonsense had he been talking about giving up 
his practice and going away ? He would remain where he 
was, and marry Madeleine ! 

And Henrietta Prendergast ? The thought of that 
woman struck him like a whip. If he were to marry Made- 
leine Kilsyth, would not that woman, Henrietta Prendergast, 
Mabel's intimate and only friend — would not she proclaim 
to the world all that she knew of the jealousy in which the 
dead woman held the young girl ? Would not his marriage 
be a confirmation of her story ? Might it not be possible 
that the existence of such a talk might create other talk ; 
that the manner of her death might be discussed ; that it 
might be suspected that, driven to it by jealousy — that is 
how they would put it — Mrs Wilmot had destroyed herself? 


And if " they " put it so, it would be in vain to deny it. The 
mere fact of his having been successful in bis profession had 
created hosts of enemies, who would take advantage of the 
first adverse wind, and do their best to blast his renown and 
bring him down from the pedestal to which he had been 
elevated. Then bit by bit the scandal would grow — would 
permeate his practice — would become general town-talk. He 
would see the whispers and the shoulder-shrugs and the up- 
lifted eyebrows, and perhaps the cool manner or the possible 
cut. Could he stand that ? Could a man of his sensibility 
endure such talk ? could he bear to feel that his domesticity 
was being laid bare before the world for the comment of 
each idler who might choose to wile away his time in dis- 
cussing the story ? Impossible ! No ; sooner keep in his 
present dreary, hopeless, isolated position, sooner give up 
all chances of winning Madeleine, sooner even retrograde. 
He had no children to provide for, and could always have 
enough to support him in a sufficient manner. He would 
give it all up ; he would go away ; he would banish for ever 
that day-dream which he had permitted himself to enjoy, and 
he would — 

A letter was brought in by his servant — an oblong note, 
sealed with black wax, in an unfamiliar handwriting. He 
turned it over two or three times, then opened it, and read 
as follows : 

" Brook-street, Thursdmj. 

" Dear Dr Wilmot, — We have beard with very great 
regret of your sad loss, and we all, Lady Muriel, papa, and 
myself, beg you to receive our sincere condolence. I know 
how difficult it is at such a time to attempt to offer consola- 
tion without an appearance of intrusion ; but I think I may 
say that we are especially concerned for you, as it was your 
attendance on me which kept you from returning home at 
the time you had originally intended. I can assure you. I 


Lave thought of this very often, and it has given me a great 
deal of uneasiness. Pray understand that we can none of 
us ever thank you sufficiently for your kindness to us at 
Kilsyth. With united kind regards, dear Dr Wilmot, your 
grateful patient, 

" Madeleine Kilsyth. 
" P.S. I have a rather troublesome cough, which worries 
me at night. Tou recollect telling me that you knew about 
this ? " 

So the Kilsyths were in town. His grateful patient ! 
He could fancy the half-smile on her lips as she traced the 
words. No ; he would give up his notion of going away — at 
least for the present ! 



"When the Kilsyths were in London, which, according to 
their general practice, was only from February until June, 
they lived in a big square house in Brook-street, — an old- 
fashioned house, with a multiplicity of rooms, necessary for 
their establishment, which demanded besides the ordinary 
number of what were known in the house-agent's catalogue 
as " reception rooms," a sitting-room for Kilsyth, where he 
could be quiet and uninterrupted by visitors, and read the 
Times, and Scrope's Salmon Mshiny, and Colonel Hawker 
on Shooting, and Oyril Thornton, and Grleig's Subaltern, and 
Napier's History of the Peninsular War, and one or two 
other books which formed his library ; where he could smoke 
his cigar, and pas3 in review his guns and his gaiters and his 
waterproofs, and hold colloquy with his man, Sandy 

K 2 


MacCollop, as to what sport they had had the past year, and 
what they expected to have the nest— without fear of 
interruption. This sanctuary of Kilsyth's lay far at the 
back of the house, at the end of a passage never penetrated 
by ordinary visitors, who indeed never inquired for the master 
of the house. Special guests were admitted there occasion- 
ally ; and perhaps two or three times in the season there was 
a council-fire, to which some of the keenest sportsmen, who 
knew Kilsyth, and were about to visit it in the autumn, 
were admitted, — round which the smoke hung thick, and the 
conversation generally ran in monosyllables. 

Lady Muriel's boudoir — another of the extraneous room3 
which the house-agent's catalogue wotteth not of — led off the 
principal staircase through a narrow passage ; and, so far as 
extravagance and good taste could combine iu luxury, was 
the room of the house. When you are not an appraiser's 
apprentice, it is difficult to describe a room of this kind ; it 
is best perhaps to follow little Lord Towcester's description,- 
who, when the subject was being discussed at mess, offered to 
back Lady Muriel's room for good taste against any in Lon- 
don ; and when asked to describe it, said, 

" Lots of flowers ; lots of cushions ; lots of soft things to 
sit down upon, and nice things to smell ; and jolly books— 
to look at, don't you know : needn't say I haven't read any 
of 'cm ; and forty hundred clocks, with charming chimin' 
bells ; and china monkeys, you know ; and fellows with 
women's heads and no bodies, and that kind of thing ; and 
those round tables, that are always sticking out their con- 
founded third leg and tripping a fellow up. Most charmin' 
place, give you my word." 

Lord Towcester's description was not a bad one, though 
to the initiated in his peculiar phraseology it scarcely did 
justice to the room, which was in rose-coloured silk and 
walnut-wood ; which had Hageres, and what-nots, and all the 
frivolousness of upholstery, covered with all the most expen- 


sive and useless china ; which opened into a little conserva- 
tory, always full of sweet-smelling plants, and where a little 
fountain played, and little gold-fish swam, and the gas-jets 
were cunningly hidden behind swinging baskets on pendent 
brandies. There was a lovely little desk in one corner of the 
room, with a paper-stand on it always full of note-paper and 
envelopes radiant with Lady Muriel's cipher and monogram 
worked in all kinds of expensive ways, and with a series of 
drawers, which were full of letters and sketches and albums, 
and were always innocently open to everybody ; and one 
drawer, which was not open to everybody, — which was closed 
indeed by a patent Bramah lock, and which, had it been in- 
spected, would have been found to contain a lock of Stewart 
Caird's hair (cut from his head after death), a packet of let- 
ters from him of the most trivial character, and acopy of Owen 
Meredith's Wanderer, which Lady Muriel had been reading 
at the time of her first and only passion, and in which all 
the passages that she considered were applicable to or bear- 
ing on her own situation were thickly pencil-scored. But it 
never was inspected, that drawer, and was understood 
by any who had ever had the hardihood to inquire about it, 
to contain household accounts. Lady Muriel Kilsyth in 
connection with a lock of a dead man's hair, a bundle of a 
dead man's letters, a pencil-marked copy of a sentimental 
poet ! The idea was too absurd. Ah, how extraordinarily 
wise the world is, and in what a wonderful manner our 
power of reading character has developed ! 

Madeleine's rooms — by her stepmother's grace she had 
two, a sitting-room and a bed-room — are upstairs. Small 
rooms, but very pretty, and arranged with all the simple 
taste of a well-bred, right-thinking girl. Her hanging book- 
shelves are well filled with their row of poets, their row of 
" useful " works, their Thomas a Kempis, their Longfellow's 
Hyperion, their Pilgrim's Progress, their Scenes of Clerical 
Life — with all the Amos Barton bits dreadfully underscored 


— their Christmas Carol, and their Esmond. The neat little 
writing table, with its gilt mortar inkstand, and its pretty 
costly nicknacks — birthday presents from her fond father- 
stood in the window : and above it hung the cage of her pet 
canary. There were but few pictures on the walls : a water-col- 
our drawing of Kilsyth, bad enough, with impossible perspec- 
tive and a very coppery sunset over very spotty blue hills, but 
dear to the girl as the work of the mother whom she had 
scarcely known ; a portrait of her father in his youth, show- 
ing how gently time had dealt with the brave old boy ; a 
print from Grant's portrait of Lady Muriel ; and a photo- 
graph of Ronald in his uniform, looking very grim and stern 
and Puritan-like. There is a small cottage-piano too, and a 
well-filled music-stand, — well- filled, that is to say, according to 
its owner's ideas, but calculated to fill the souls of musical 
enthusiasts with horror or pity ; for there is very little of the 
severe and the classical about Madeleine even in her musical 
tastes : Grliick's Orfeo, some of Mendelssohn's ieder ohne 
Worte, and a few selections from Mozart, quite satisfied her ; 
and the rest of the music-stand was filled with Bellini, Do- 
nizetti, Rossini, and Verdi, English ballads, and even dance 
music. Upon all the room was the impress and evidence of 
womanly taste and neatness ; nothing was prim, but every- 
thing was properly arranged; above all, neither in books, 
pictures, music, nor on the dressing-table or in the wardrobe 
in the bed-room, was there the smallest sign of fastness or 
slanginess, that almost omnipresent drawback to the charms 
of the young ladies of the present day. 

Nigh to Madeleine' s rooms was a big airy chamber with a 
shower-bath, an iron bedstead, a painted chest of drawers, 
and a couple of common chairs, for its sole furniture. This 
was the room devoted to Captain Kilsyth whenever he stayed 
with his relatives, and had been furnished according to his 
exact injunctions. It was like Roland himself, grim and 
stern, and was regarded as a kind of Blue Chamber of Hor- 
rors by Lady Muriel's little children who used to hurry 


past its door, and accredited it as a perfect stronghold of 
bogies. This feeling was but a reflection of that with which 
the little girls Ethel and Maud regarded their elder brother. 
His visits to their school-room, periodically made, were always 
looked forward to with intense fright both by them and by 
their governess, Miss Blathers — a worthy woman, untouch- 
able in Mangnall, devoted to the backboard, with a fair pro- 
ficiency in music and Trench, but with an unconquerable 
tendency towards sentimentality of the most snivelling kind. 
Miss Blathers' sentiment was of the Gr. P. B. James's school; 
she was always on the look-out for that knight who was to 
come and deliver her from the bonds of governesshood, who 
was to fling his arm over her, as Count Gismond flung his 
round Mr Browning's anonymous heroine, and lead her off to 
some land where Ollendorf was unknown, and Levizac had 
never been heard of. A thoroughly worthy creature, Miss 
Blathers, but horribly frightened of Bonald, who would come 
into the school-room, make his bow, pull his moustache, and 
go off at once into the questions, pulling his moustache a 
great deal more, and shrugging his shoulders at the answers 
he received. 

It was not often, however, that Bonald came to Brook- 
street, at all events for any length of time. "When he was 
on duty, he was of course with his regiment in barracks ; 
and when he had opportunities of devoting himself to his own 
peculiar studies and subjects, he generally took advantage of 
those opportunities with his own particular cronies. He 
would ride with Madeleine sometimes, in a morning, occa- 
sionally in the Bow, but oftener for a long stretch round the 
pretty suburbs ; and he would dine with his father now and 
then ; and perhaps twice in a season would put in an appear- 
ance in Lady Muriel's opera-box, and once at a reception 
given by her. But, except perhaps by Madeleine, who 
always loved to see him, he was not much missed in Brook- 
street, where, indeed, plenty of people came. 

Plenty of people and of all kinds. Constituents up from 


Scotland on business, or friends of constituents with letters 
of introduction from their friends to Kilsyth ; to whom also 
came old boys from the clubs, who had nothing else to do, 
and liked to smoke a morning cigar or drink a before-lun- 
cheon glass of sherry with the hospitable laird ; old boys who 
never penetrated beyond the ground-floor, save perhaps on 
one night in the season, which Lady Muriel set apart for the 
reception of "the House" and "the House" wives and 
daughters, when they would make their way upstairs and 
cling round the lintels of the drawing-room, and obstruct all 
circulation, and eat a very good supper, and for three or four 
days afterwards wag their heads at each other in the bow- 
windows of Brookes's or Barnes's, and inform each other 
with great solemnity that Lady Muriel was a " dayvilish 
fine woman," and that " the thing had been doosid well done 
at Kilsyth's the other night, eh? " Other visitors, nominally 
to Kilsyth, but in reality after their reception by him rele- 
gated to Lady Muriel, keen-looking, clear-eyed, high-cheek- 
boned men, wonderfully " canny "-looking, thoroughly Scotch, 
only wanting the pinch of snuff between their fingers, and 
the kilt round their legs, to have fitted them for taking their 
station at the tobacconists' doors, — factors from different 
portions of the estate, whom Lady Muriel took in hand, and 
with them went carefully through every item of their ac- 
counts, leaving them marvellously impressed with her quali- 
ties as a woman of business. 

Wo very special visitors to Lady Muriel. Plenty of 
carriages with women, young and old, elegant and dowdy, 
aristocratic and plebeian, on the front seat, and the Court 
Guide in all its majesty on the back. Plenty of raps, pre- 
posterous in their potency, delivered with unerring aim by 
ambrosial mercuries, who disengaged quite a cloud of powder 
in the operation ; packs of cards, delivered like conjuring 
tricks into the hands of the hall-porter, over whose sleek 
head appeared a charming perspective of other serving-men ; 


kind regards, tender inquiries, congratulations, condolence, 
P.P.C.'s, all the whole formula duly gone through between 
the ambrosial creatures who have descended from the 
monkey- board and the plethoric giant who has extricated 
himself from the leathern bee-hive — one of the principals in 
the mummery stolidly looking on from the carriage, the 
other sitting calmly upstairs, neither taking the smallest part, 
or caring the least about it. The lady visitors did not come 
in, as a rule, but the men did, almost without exception. 
The men arrived from half-past four till half-past six, and, 
during the season, came in great numbers. "Why ? Well, 
Lady Muriel was very pleasant, and Miss Kilsyth was 
" charmin', quite charmin' " They said this parrot-wise ; 
there are no such parrots as your modern young men ; they 
repeat whatever they have learnt constantly, but between their 
got-by-rote sentences they are fatally and mysteriously dumb. 

" "Were you at the Duchess's last night, Lady Muriel ? " 

" Yes ! Tou were not there, I think ? " 

" No ; couldn't go — was on duty." 

Pause. Dead silence. Five clocks ticking loudly and 
running races with each other. 

" Tes, by the way, knew you were there." 

" Did you — who told you ?" 

" Saw it in the paper, 'mongst the comp'ny, don't you 
know, and that kind of thing." 

Awful pause. Clocks take up the running •. Lady Muriel 
looks on the carpet. Visitor calmly scrutinizes furniture 
round the room, at length he receives inspiration from length- 
ened contemplation of his hat-lining. 

" Seen Clement Penruddock lately ? " 

" Tes, he was here on — when was it ? — quite lately — Oh, 
the day before yesterday." 

" Poor old Clem ! Groing to marry Lady Violet Dumanoir, 
they say. Pity Lady Yi don't leave off putting that stuff on 
her face and shoulders, isn't it ? " 


" How ridiculous you are! " 

" No, but really ! she does ! " 

" How can you be so silly ! " 

Grand and final pause of ten minutes, "broken by the visitor' 's 
saying quietly, "Well, good-bye," and lounging off to repeat 
the invigorating conversation elsewhere. 

Who ? Youth of all kinds. The junior portion of the 
Household Brigade, horse and foot, solemn plungers and 
dapper little guardsmen ; youth from the Whitehall offices, 
specially diplomatic and erudite, and disposed to chaff the 
military as ignorant of most things, and specially of spelling ; 
idlers purs et simples, who had been last year in Norway, 
and would be the next in Canada, and who suffered socially 
from their perpetual motion, never being able to retain the 
good graces which they had gained or to recover those they 
had lost ; foreign attaches ; junior representatives of the plu- 
tocracy, who went into society into which their fathers might 
never have dreamed of penetrating, but who found the 
"almighty dollar," or its equivalent, when judiciously used, 
have all the open-sesame power ; an occasional Scotch con- 
nection on a passing visit to London, and — Mrs M'Diarmid. 

Who was Mrs M'Diarmid ? That was the first question 
every one asked on their introduction to her ; the second, on 
their revisiting the house where the introduction had taken 
place, being, " Where is Mrs M'Diarmid P " Mrs M'Diar- 
mid was originally Miss Whiffin, daughter of Mrs Whiffin 
of Salisbury-street in the Strand, who let lodgings, and in 
whose parlours George M'Diarmid, second cousin to the 
present Kilsyth, lived when he first came to London, and 
enrolled himself as a student in the Inner Temple. A plea- 
sant fellow George M'Diarmid, with a taste for pleasure, 
and very little money, and an impossibility to keep out of 
debt. A good-looking fellow, with a bright blue eye, and 
big red whiskers (beards were not in fashion then, or George 
would have grown a very Birnam-Wood of hair), and broad 
shoulders, and a genial jovial manner with " the sex." Deep 


into Mrs Whiffiu's books went George, and simultaneously 
deep into her daughter's heart ; and finally, when Kilsyth 
had done his best for his scapegrace kinsman, and could do 
no more, and nobody else would do anything, Q-eorge wiped 
off his score by marrying Miss Whiffin, and, as she expressed 
it to her select circle of friends, " making a lady of her." It 
was out of his power to do that. Nothing on earth would 
have made Hannah Whiffin a lady, any more than anything 
on earth could have destroyed her kindness of heart, her 
devotion to her husband, her hard-working, honest striving to 
do her duty as his wife. Kilsyth would not have been the 
large-souled glorious fellow that he was if he had failed to 
see this, or seeing, had failed to appreciate and recognize it. 
George M'Diarmid hemmed and hawed when told to bring 
his wife to Brook-street, and blushed and stuttered when he 
brought her ; but Kilsyth and Lady Muriel set the poor shy 
little woman at her ease in an instant, and seeing all her 
good qualities, remained her kind and true friends. After 
two years or so George M'Diarmid died in his wife's arms, 
blessing and thanking her; and after his death, to the 
astonishment of all who knew anything about it, his widow 
was as constant a visitor to Brook- street as ever. Why ? No 
one could exactly tell, save that she was a shrewd, clever 
woman, with an extraordinary amount of real affection for 
every member of the family. There was no mistake about 
that. She had been tried in times of sickness and of trouble, 
and had always come out splendidly. A vulgar old lady, 
with curious blunt manners and odd phrases of speech, which 
had at first been dreadfully trying ; but by degrees the 
regular visitors to the house began to comprehend her, to 
make allowance for her gauclieries and her quaint sayings — 
in fact, to take the greatest delight in them. So Mrs 
M'Diarmid was constantly in Brook-street, and the fre- 
quenters of the five-o'clock tea-table professed to be personally 
hurt if she absented herself. 

A shrewd little woman too, with a special care for Made- 


leine ; with a queer old-world notion that she, being herself 
childless, should look after the motherless girl. For Lady 
Muriel Mrs M'Diarmid had the highest respect ; but Lady 
Muriel had children of her own, and, naturally enough, was 
concerned about, or as Mrs M'Diarmid expressed it, " wropped 
up " in them, and Madeleine had no one to protect and guide 
her — poor soul ! So this worthy little old woman devoted 
herself to the motherless girl, and watched over her with 
duenna -like care and almost maternal fidelity. 

Five o'clock in the evening, two days after Wilmot had 
received Madeleine's little note ; the shutters were shut in 
Lady Muriel's boudoir, the curtains were drawn, a bright 
fire burned on the hearth, and the tea-equipage was ready 
set on the little round table close by the hostess. Not many 
people there. Not Kilsyth, of course, who was reading the 
evening papers and chatting at Brookes's, — not Ronald, who 
scarcely ever showed at that time. Madeleine, looking very 
lovely in a tight-fitting high violet-velvet dress, a thought 
pale still, but with her blue eyes bright, and her golden hair 
taken off her face, and gathered into a great knot at the back 
of her pretty little head. Near her, on an ottoman, Clement 
Penruddock, half-entranced at the appearance of his own red 
stockings, half in wondering why he does not go off to see 
Lady Violet Dumanoir, his fiancee. Clem is always wonder- 
ing about this, and never seems to arrive at a satisfactory 
result. Next to him, and vainly endeavouring to think of 
something to say, the Hon. Robert Brettles, familiarly known 
as " Bristles," from the eccentric state of his hair, who is 
supposed to be madly in love with Madeleine Kilsyth, and 
who has never yet made greater approaches in conversation 
with her than meteorological observations in regard to the 
weather, and blushing demands for her hand in the dance. 
By Lady Muriel, Lord Roderick Douglas, who still finds his 
nose too large for the rest of his face, and strokes it thought- 
fully in the palm of his hand, as though he could thereby 


quietly reduce its dimensions. Frank Only, Sir Coke's 
eldest son, but recently gazetted to the Body Guards, an 
ingenuous youth, dressed more like a tailor's dummy than 
anything else, especially about his feet, which are very small 
and very shiny ; and Tommy Toshington, who has dropped 
in on the chance of hearing something which, cleverly 
manipulated and well told at the club, may gain him a dinner. 
In the immediate background sits Mrs M'Diarmid, knitting. 

Lady Muriel has poured out the tea ; the gentlemen have 
handed the ladies their cups, and are taking their own ; and 
the usual blank dulness has fallen on the company. Nobody 
says a word for full three minutes, when the silence is broken 
by Tommy Toshington, who begins to find his visit unremu- 
nerative, as hitherto he has not gleaned one atom of gossip. 
So be asks Lady Muriel whether she has seen anything of 
Colonel Jefferson. 

"No, indeed," Lady Muriel replies ; Colonel Jefferson 
has not been to see us since our return." 

" Didn't know you were in town, perhaps," suggests 
the peace-loving Tommy. 

" Must know that, Toshington," says Lord Roderick 
Douglas, who has no great love for Charley Jefferson, as- 
sociating that stern commander with various causes of heavy 
field-days and refusals of leave. 

" I don't see that," says Tommy, who has never been 
Lord Roderick's guest at mess or anywhere else, and who 
does not see a chance of hospitality in that quarter ; conse- 
quently is by no means reticent, — "I don't see that; how 
was he to know it ? " 

" Same way that everybody else did — through the Post." 

" Tommy can't read it," said Clement Penruddock ; 
" they didn't teach spellin' ever so long ago, when Tommy 
was a boy." 

" They taught manners," growled Tommy, " at all events , 
but they seem to have given that up." 


"Charley Jefferson isn't in town," said "Bristles," 
cutting in quickly to stop the discussion ; " he's down at 
Torquay. Had a letter from him yesterday, my lady ; last 
man in the world, Charley, to be rude— specially to you or 
Miss Kilsyth." 

" I am sure of that, Mr Brettles," said Lady Muriel ; " I 
fancied Colonel Jefferson must be away, or we should have 
seen him." 

" People go away most strangelike," observed Mrs 
M'Diarmid from the far distance. " The facilities of the road, 
the river, and the rail, as I've seen it somewhere expressed, 
is such, that one's here to-day, Lord bless you, and next week 
in the Sydney Isles or thereabouts." 

By "the Sydney Isles or thereabouts," Mrs M'Diarmid's 
friends had by long experience ascertained that she meant 

"Scarcely so far as that in so short a time, Aunt Hannah," 
said Madeleine with a smile. 

" "Well, my clear, far enough to fare worse, as the expres- 
sion is. I don't hold with such wanderings, thinking home 
to be home, be it ever .so homely." 

"You would not like to go faraway yourself, would you, 
Mrs M'Diarmid ? " asked Lord Eoderick. 

" Not I, my lord ; Regent-street for me is quite very, and 
beyond that I have no inspiration." 

" You've never been able to get Mrs M'Diarmid even so 
far as Kilsyth, have you, Lady Muriel ? " said Clement. 

" JS"o ; she has always refused to come to us. I think she 
imagines we're utter barbarians at Kilsyth." 

" Not at all, my dear, not at all," said the old lady ; " but 
everybody has their fancies, and knows what they can do 
and where they're useful ; and fancy me at my time of life 
tossing my cabers, or doing my Tullochgorums or whatever 
they're called, between two crossed swords on the top of a 
mountain ! Scarcely respectable, I think." 


" You're quite right, Mrs Mac, and I honour your senti- 
ments," said Clem with a half-grin. 

" Not but that I would have gone through all that and a 
good deal more, my darling,' ' said the old lady, putting down 
her work, crossing the room, and taking Madeleine's pale face 
between her own fat little hands, " to have been with you in 
your illness, and to have nursed you. Duchesses indeed ! " 
cried Mrs Mac, with a sniff of defiance at the remembrance 
of the Northallerton defection — " I'd have duchessed 'em, if 
I'd had my way!" 

" Tou would have been the dearest and best nurse in the 
world, I know, Aunt Hannah," said Madeleine ; then added, 
with a half-sigh, " though I could not have been better 
attended to than I was, I think." 

Lady Muriel marked the half-sigh instantly, and looked 
across at her step-daughter. Reassured at the perfect calm 
of Madeleine's face, on which there was no blush, no tremor, 
she said, " Tou wrote that note, Madeleine, according to 
your father's wish ? " 

" Two days ago, mamma." 

" Two days ago ! I should have thought that — " 

" Perhaps he is very much engaged, mamma, and knew 
that there was no pressing need of his services. Dr Wilmot 
told me that — " and the girl hesitated, and stopped. 

" Is that Dr "Wilmot of Charles-street, close by the 
Junior ? Are you talking of him ? " said Penruddock. 
" Doosid clever feller they say he is. He's been attending 
my cousin Cranbrook — you know him, Lady Muriel; been 
awfully bad, poor Cranbrook has ; head shaved, and holloing 
out, and all that kind of thing — frightful ; and this doctor 
has pulled him through like a bird — splendidly, by Jove ! " 

" He drives an awful pair of screws," said " Bristles," 
who was horsey in his tastes ; " saw 'em standing at Cran- 
brook's door. To look at 'em, you wouldn't think they 
could drag that thundering big heavy brougham — C springs, 


don't you know, Clem ? — and yet when they start they nip 
along stunningly." 

"Ah, those poor doctors!" said Mrs M'Diarmid ; "I 
often wonder how they live, for they take no exercise now 
all the streets are M'Adara and wood and all sorts of non- 
sense ! When there was good sound stone pavement, one 
was bumped about in your carriage like riding a trotting- 
horse, and that was all the exercise the poor doctors got. 
Now they don't get that." 

"And Dr Wilmot attended Lord Cranbrook, did he, 
Clem?" asked Madeleine softly; "and brought him safely 
through his illness. I'm glad of that ; I'm glad — " 

" Dr Wilmot, my lady ! " said the groom of the chambers. 

" What a bore that doctor coming," said Clement Pen- 
ruddock, looking round, "just as I was going to have a 
pleasant talk with Maddy ! " 

" You leave Maddy alone," said Mrs M'Diarmid with a 
grunt, " and go off to your financier ! " 

" My financier, Aunt Hannah ? " said Clem in astonish- 
ment ; " I haven't one ; I wish to Heaven I had." 

"Haven't one? " retorted the old lady. "Pray, what 
do you call Lady Vi ? " 

And 'then Clement Penruddock understood that Mrs 
M'Diarmid meant his fiancee. 

Dr Wilmot and Madeleine went, at Lady Muriel's re- 
quest, into the drawing-room. 

He was with her once again ; looked in her eyes, heard 
her voice murmuring thanks to him for all his past kind- 
ness, touched her hand— no longer hot with fever, but 
tremblingly dropping into his — saw the sweet smile which 
had come upon her with, the earliest dawn of convalescence. 
At the same time Wilmot remarked a faint flush on her 
cheek and a baleful light in her eyes, which recalled to him 
the discovery which he had made at Kilsyth, and which he 
had mentioned to her father. His diagnosis had been short 



then and hurried, but it had been true : the seeds of the 
disease were in her, and, unchecked, were likely to bear 
fatal fruit. Could he leave her thus ? could he absent him- 
self, bearing about with him the knowledge that she whom 
he loved better than anything on earth might derive benefit 
from his assistance — might indeed owe her life and her 
earthly salvation to his ministering care ? He knew well 
enough that though her father had given him his thorough 
trust and confidence, his friendship and his warm gratitude, 
yet there were others about her who had no share in these 
feelings, by whom he was looked upon with doubt and sus- 
picion, and who would be only too glad to relegate him to 
his position of the professional man who had fulfilled what 
was required of him, and had been discharged — not to be 
taken up again, until another case of necessity arose. There 
was no doubt that his diagnosis had been correct, and that 
her life required constant watching, perpetual care. Well, 
should she not have it ? Was not he then close at hand ? 
Had his talent ever been engaged in a case in which he took 
so deep, so vital an interest ? Had he not often given up 
his every thought, his day's study, his night's repose, for 
the mere professional excitement of battling the insidious 
advances of Disease — of checking him here, and counter- 
checking him there, and finally cutting off his supplies, and 
routing him utterly ? and would he not do this in the 
present instance, where such an interest as he had never 
yet felt, such an inducement as had never yet been held 
out to him, urged him on to victory ? 

Ah, yes; "his grateful patient" should have greater 
claims on his gratitude than she herself imagined. He had 
seen her safely through a comparatively trifling illness ; he 
would be by her side in the struggle that threatened her 
life. Come what might, win or lose, he should be there, 
able, as he thought, to help her in danger, whatever might 
be the result to himself of his efforts. 


He has her hand in his now, and is looking into her eyea 
• — momentarily only ; for the soft blue orbs droop beneath 
his glance, and the bright red flush leaps into the pale cheek. 
Still he retains her hand, and asks her, in a voice which 
vainly strives to keep its professional tone, such professional 
questions as admit of the least professional putting. She 
replies in a low voice, when suddenly a shadow falls upon 
them standing together ; and looking up, they see Ronald 
Kilsyth. Dr Wilmot utters the intruder's name; Made- 
leine is silent. 

"Yes, Madeleine," says Eonald, addressing her a3 
though she had spoken ; " I have come to fetch you to Lady 
Muriel. — I was not aware, sir," he added, turning to Wil- 
mot, " that you were any longer in attendance on this young 
lady. I thought that her illness was over, and that your 
services had been dispensed with." 

Constitutionally pale, Eonald now, under the influence 
of strong excitement, was almost livid j but he had not one 
whit more colour than Chudleigh Wilmot, as he replied : 
" Tou were right, Captain Kilsyth : my professional visits 
are at an end ; it is as a friend that I am now visiting your 

Eonald drew himself up as he said, " I have yet to learn, 
Dr Wilmot, that you are on such terms with the family 
as to justify you in paying these friendly visits. — Made- 
leine, come with me." 

The girl hesitated for an instant ; but Eonald placed 
her arm in his, and walked off with her to the door, leaving 
Chudleigh Wilmot immovable with astonishment and rage. 




Rage was quite a novel passion for Chudleigh Wilmot, 
and one which, lite most new passions, obtained for the 
time complete mastery over him. In his previous career 
he had been so steeped in study, so overwhelmed by prac- 
tice — had had every hour of his time so completely and 
unceasingly occupied, that he had had no leisure to get 
into a rage, even if he had had the slightest occasion. But 
the truth is, the occasion had been wanting also. During 
the time he had been at the hospital he had had various 
tricks played upon him, — such tricks as the idle always will 
play upon the industrious, — but he had not paid the least 
attention to them ; and when the perpetrators of the prac- 
tical jokes found they were disregarded, they turned the 
tide of their humour upon some one else less pachyder- 
matous. Ever since then his life had flowed in an even 
stream, which never turned aside into a whirlpool of passion 
or a cataract of rage, but continued its calm course without 
the smallest check or shoal. In the old days, when driven 
nearly to madness by the calm way in which her husband 
took every event in life, undisturbed by public news or 
private worry, finding the be-all and the end-all of life in 
the prosecution of his studies, the correctness of his diag- 
noses, and the number of profitable visits daily entered up 
in his diary, Mabel Wilmot would have given anything if 
he had now and then broken out into a fit of rage, no matter 
for what cause, and thus cleared the dull heavy atmosphere 
of tranquil domesticity for ever impending over them. 
But he never did break out; and the atmosphere, as we 
have seen, was never cleared. 

But Chudleigh Wilmot was in a rage at last. By 

o 2 


nature he was anything but a coward, was endowed with a 
keen sensitiveness, and scrupulously honourable. Hia 
abstraction, his studiousness, his simple unworldly ways — ■ 
for there were few more unworldly men than the rising 
fashionable physician — all prevented his easily recognizing 
that he was a butt for intentional ribaldry or insult ; but 
when, as in this case, he did see it, it touched him to the 
quick. As a boy he could laugh at the practical jokes of 
his fellow-students ; as a man he writhed under and rebelled 
against the first slight that since his manhood he had re- 
ceived. What was to be done ? This young man, this 
Captain Kilsyth, her brother, had studiously and purposely 
insulted him, and insulted him before her. As this thought 
rushed through Wihnot's mind, as he stood as though 
rooted to the spot where they had left him in the drawing- 
room in Brook-street, his first feeling was to rush after 
Konald and strike him to the ground as the penalty of his 
presumption. His fingers itched to do it, clenched them- 
selves involuntarily, as his teeth set and his nostrils dilated 
involuntarily. What good would that do ? JN"one. Come 
of it what might, Madeleine's name would be mixed up 
with it, and — Ah, good God ! he saw it all ; saw the news- 
paper paragraph with the sensation-heading, " Fracas in 
private life between a gallant Officer and a distinguished 
Physician ; " he saw the blanks and asterisks under which 
Madeleine's name would be concealed ; he guessed the club 
scandal which — No, that would never do. He must give 
up all thoughts of avenging himself in that manner, for her 
sake. Better bear what he had borne, better bear slight 
and insult worse a thousandfold, than have her mixed up 
in a newspaper paragraph, or given over to the genial talk 
of society. 

He must bear it, put up with the insult, swallow his 
disgust, forego his revenge. There was not enough of the 
Christian element in Chudleigh Wilmot's composition to 

giving ur. 197 

render this lme of conduct at all palatable to him ; but it 
was necessary, and should be pursued. He had gone 
through all this in his thought and arrived at this deter- 
mination before he moved from the drawing-room. Then 
he walked quietly down to Lady Muriel's boudoir, entered, 
chatted with her ladyship for five minutes on indifferent 
topics, and took his leave, perfectly cool without, raging 
hot within. 

As he had correctly thought, his long absence from 
London had by no means injured his practice ; if anything, 
had improved it. In every class of life there is such a 
thing as making yourself too cheap, and the healthy an<J 
wealthy hypochrondriacs, who form six-sevenths of a 
fashionable physician's clientele, are rather incited and 
stimulated when they find the doctor unable or unwilling 
to attend their every summons. So Wilmot's practice was 
immense. He had a very large number of visits to pay 
that day, and he paid them all with thorough scrupulous- 
ness. Never had his manner been more suave and bland ; 
never had he listened more attentively to his patients' 
narratives of their complaints ; never had his eyebrow- 
upliftiugs been more telling, the noddings of his head 
thrown in more apropos. The old ladies, who worshipped 
him, thought him more delightful than ever ; the men 
were more and more convinced of his talent ; but the truth 
is, that having no really serious case on hand, Dr Wilmot 
permitted himself the luxuries of thought ; and while he 
was clasping Lady Cawdor's pulse, or peering down 
General Donaldbain's throat, he was all the time wonder- 
ing what line of conduct he could best pursue towards 
Uonald and Madeleine Kilsyth. In the course of his 
afternoon drive he passed the carriages of scores of his 
brother practitioners, with whom he exchanged hurried 
bows and nods, all of whom returned to the perusal of the 
Lancet or of their diaries, as the case might be, with envy 


at their hearts, and jealousy of the successful man who 
succeeded in everything, and who, if they had only known 
it, was quivering under the slight and insult which he had 
just received. 

His visits over, he went home and dined quietly. The 
romantic feelings connected with an " empty chair " 
troubled Chudleigh Wilmot very little. He had never paid 
very much attention to the person by whom the chair had 
been filled ; indeed very frequently during Mabel's lifetime 
he had done what he always had done since her death, 
taken a book, and read during his dinner. But he could 
not read on this occasion. He tried, and failed dismally ; 
the print .swam before his eyes ; he could not keep his atten- 
tion for a moment on the book ; he pushed it away, and gave 
up his mind to the subject with which it was preoccupied. 

Pair, impartial, and judicial self-examination — that was 
what he wanted, what he must have. Captain Kilsyth had 
insulted him, purposely no doubt ; why ? Not for an in- 
stant did Wilmot attempt to disguise from himself that it 
was on Madeleine's account ; but how could Captain Kil- 
syth know anything of his (Wilmot's) feelings in regard to 
Madeleine ; and if he did know of them, why should he 
now object ? Captain Kilsyth might be standing out on 
the question of family ; but that would never lead him to 
behave in so hriosqiie and ungentlemanly a manner ; he 
might object to the alliance — to the alliance ! — good Cod ! 
here was he giving another man credit for speculating on 
matters which had only dimly arisen even in his own brain ! 

Still there remained the fact of Captain Kilsyth's con- 
duct having been as it had been, and still remained the 
question — why ? To no creature on earth had he, Chud- 
leigh "Wilmot, confided his love for this girl ; and so far as 
he knew — and he searched his memory carefully — he had 
never in his manner betrayed his secret in the remotest 
degree. Had his wife been alive, Eonald Kilsyth might 


have objected to finding him in close converse with his 
sister ; yet in the fact of his having a wife lay — ■ 

It flashed across him in an instant, and sent the blood 
rushing to his heart. The manner of his wife's death — 
was that known ? The causes which, as Henrietta Pren- 
dergast had hinted to him, had led Mabel to the vial with 
the leaden seal — had they leaked out ? had they reached 
the ears of this young man ? Did he suspect that jealousy 
— no matter whether with or without foundation — of his 
sister had led Mrs Wilmot to lay violent hands upon her- 
self ? And if he suspected it, why not a hundred others ? 
The story would fly from mouth to mouth. This Captain 
Kilsyth — no ; he would not lend his aid to its promulga- 
tion ; he could not for his sister's sake ; but — And yet, 
with or against Captain Kilsyth's wish, it must come out. 
When his visits ceased in Brook-street, as they must cease 
— he had determined on that ; when he no longer saw 
Madeleine, who, as he perfectly well knew, had been 
brought to London with the view of being under his care, 
would not old Kilsyth make inquiries as to the change in 
the intended programme, and would not his son have to tell 
him all he had heard? It was too horrible to think of. 
With such a rumour in existence — granting that it was a 
rumour merely, and all unproved — it would be impossible 
for Kilsyth, however eagerly he might wish it, to befriend 
him — at least in the manner in which he could best be- 
friend him, by eucouraging his addresses to Madeleine. 
Lady Muriel would not listen to it; Ronald would not 
listen to it, even if those two were in some way — he could 
not think how, but there might be a way of getting round 
those two and winning them to his side — even if that were 
done, while that Jiorrible story or suspicion was current — 
and it was impossible to set it at rest without the chance 
of establishing it firmly for ever — Kilsyth would never con- 
sent to his marriage with Madeleine. 


He must at once free himself from the chance of any 
story of this kind being promulgated. The more he 
thought the matter over, the more he saw the impossibility 
of again going to Brook-street, after what had occurred ; 
the impossibility of his absence passing without remark 
and inquiry by Kilsyth ; the impossibility of Honald's 
withholding his statement of his own conduct in the mat- 
ter, and his reasons for that conduct. For an instant a ray 
of hope shot through Chudleigh "Wilmot's soul, as he 
thought that perhaps the reasons might be infinitely less 
serious and less damaging than he had depicted them to 
himself; but it died out again at once, and he acknow- 
ledged to himself the hopelessness of his situation. He had 
been indulging in a day-dream from which he had been 
rudely and ruthlessly waked, and his action must now be 
prompt and decisive. There was an end to it all ; it was 
Kismet, and he must accept his fate. No combined future 
for Madeleine and him ; their paths lay separate, and must 
be trodden separately at once ; her brother was right, his 
own dead wife was right — it is not to be ! 

There must be no blinking or shuffling with the question 
now, he thought. To remain in London without visiting 
in Brook-street would evoke immediate and peculiar atten- 
tion ; and it was plain that Bonald Kilsyth had determined 
that Dr Wilmot's visits to Brook-street were not to be 
renewed. He must leave London, must leave England at 
once. He must go abroad for six months, for a year; 
must give up his practice and seek change and repose in 
fresh scenes. He would spoil his future by so doing, blow 
up and shatter the fabric which he had reared with such 
industry and patience and self-denial ; but what of that ? 
He should ascribe his forced expatriation and retreat to 
loss of health, and he should at least reap pity and con- 
dolence; whereas now every moment that he remained 
upon the scene he ran the chance of being overwhelmed 


with obloquy and scorn. He could imagine, vividly 
enough, how the patients whom he had refused to natter, 
whose self-imagined maladies he had laughed at and ridi- 
culed, would turn upon him ; how his brother practitioners, 
who had always hated him for his success, would point to 
the fulfilment of their never-delivered prophecies, and make 
much of their own idleness and incompetency ; how the 
medical journals which he had riddled and scathed would 
issue fierce diatribes over his fall, or, worse than all, sym- 
pathize with the profession on — he could almost see the 
words in print before him — -"the breach of that confidence 
which is the necessary and sacred bond between the phy- 
sician and the patient." 

Anything better than that ; and he must take the de- 
cisive step at once ! He must give up his practice. "Whit- 
taker should have it, so far at least as his recommendation 
could serve him. He should have that, and must rely upon 
himself for the rest. Many of his patients knew Whittaker 
now, had become accustomed to him during the time of 
Wilmot's absence at Kilsyth, and Whittaker had not be- 
haved badly during that — that horrible affair of Mabel's 
last illness. Moreover, if Whittaker suspected the cause 
of Mabel's death — and Wilmot shuddered as the mere 
thought crossed his mind — the practice would be a sop to 
him to induce him to hold his tongue in the matter. And 
he, Wilmot, would go away — and be forgotten. Better that, 
bitter as the thought might be — -and how bitter it was none 
but those who have been compelled, for conscience' sake, 
for honour's sake, for expediency's sake even, to give up in 
the moment of success, to haul down the flag and sheath 
the sword when they knew victory was in their grasp, 
could ever tell ; — better that than to remain, with the 
chance of exposure to himself, of compromise to Tier. The 
mental overthrow, the physical suffering consequent upon 
the sudden death of his wife, would be sufficient excuse for 


this step to the world ; and there were none to know the 
real cause of its being taken. He had saved sufficient 
money to enable him to live as comfortably as he should 
care to live, even if he never returned to work again ; and 
once free from the torturing doubt which oppressed him, or 
rather from the possibility of all which that torturing 
doubt meant to his fevered mind, he should be himself 

Beyond his position, so hardly struggled for, so recently 
attained, he had nothing to leave behind him which he 
should particularly regret. He had been so self-contained, 
from the very means necessary for attaining that position, 
had been so circumscribed in the pleasures of his life, that 
his opportunities for the cultivation even of friendship had 
been very rare. He should miss the quaint caustic con- 
versation, the earnest hearty liking so undeniably existing, 
even under its slight veneer of eccentricity, of old Eol- 
jambe ; he should miss what he used laughingly to call his 
" dissipation " of attending a few professional and scientific 
gatherings held in the winter, where the talk was all " shop," 
dry and uninteresting to the uninitiated, but full of delight 
to the listeners, and specially to the talkers ; he should 
miss the excitement of the lecture-theatre, where perhaps 
more than anywhere else he thoroughly enjoyed himself, 
and where he shone at his very brightest, and — that was 
all. No ! Madeleine ! this last and keenest source of en- 
joyment in his life, this pure spring of freshness and vigour, 
this revivification of early hopes and boyish dreams, this 
young girl, the merest acquaintance with whom had soft- 
ened and purified his heart, had given aim and end to his 
career, had shown him how dull and heartless, how un- 
loved, unloving, and unlovely had been his bygone time, 
and had aroused in him such dreams of uncensurable am- 
bition for the future, — she must be given up, must become 
a " portion and parcel of the dreadful past," and be dead to 


aim for ever ! She must be given up ! He repeated the 
words mechanically, and they rang in his ears like a knell. 
She must be given up ! She was given up, even then, if he 
carried out his intention. He should never see her again, 
should never see the loving light in those blue eyes — ah, 
how well he minded him of the time when he first saw it in 
the earliest days of her convalescence at Kilsyth, and of all 
the undefined associations which it awakened in him ! — 
should never hear the grateful accents of her soft sweet 
voice, should never touch her pretty hand again. For all 
the years of his life, as it appeared to him, he had held his 
eyes fixed upon the ground, and had raised them at the 
rustle of an angel's wings, only to see her float far beyond 
his reach. For all the years of his life he had toiled wearily 
on through the parching desert ; and at length, on meeting 
the green oasis, where the fresh well sparkled so cheerily ^ 
had had the cup shattered from his trembling hand. 

She must be given up ! She should be ; that was the very 
keystone of the arrangement. He had looked the whole 
question fairly in the face ; and what he had proposed to 
himself, and had determined on abiding by, he would not 
shrink from now. But it was hard, very hard. And then 
he lay back in his chair, and in his mind retraced all the cir- 
cumstances of his acquaintance with her ; last of all, coming 
upon their final interview of that morning in the drawing- 
room .at Brook-street. He was sufficiently calm now to eli- 
minate Bonald and his truculence from the scene, and to think 
only of Madeleine ; and that brought to his remembrance the 
reason of their having gone into the drawing-room together, 
to consult on her illness, the weakness of the lungs which he 
had detected at Kilsyth. 

That was a new phase of the subject, which had not oc- 
curred to him before. Not merely must he give her up and 
absent himself from her, but he must leave her at a time 
when his care and attention might be of vital importance to 


her. Like most leading men in his profession, Chudleigh 
Wilmot, with a full reliance on himself, combined a whole- 
some distrust of and disbelief in most of his brother practi- 
tioners. There were few — half a dozen at the most, perhaps 
— in whose hands Madeleine might be safely left, if they had 
some special interest, such as he had, in her case. Such as 
he had ! Wilmot could not avoid a grim smile as he thought 
of old Dr Blenkiron, with his snuff-dusted shirt-frill, or little 
LY Prater, with his gold-rimmed spectacles, feeling similar 
interest to his in this sweet girl. But unless they had special 
interest — unless they could have given up a certain amount 
of their time regularly to attending to her — it would have 
been of little use, as her symptoms were for ever varying, and 
wanted constant watching. And as for the general run of 
the profession, even men so well thought of as Whittaker or 
Perkins, he — stay, a good thought — old Sir Saville Rowe 
would probably be coming to town for the winter ; and the 
old gentleman, though he had retired from active practice, 
would, Wilmot made sure, look after Madeleine for him as a 
special case. Sir Saville's brain was as clear as ever ; and 
though his strength was insufficient to enable him to continue 
his practice, this one case would be an amusement rather than 
a trouble to him. Yes, that was the best way of meeting this 
part of the difficulty. Wilmot could go away at lelst with- 
out the additional anxiety of his darling's being without com- 
petent advice. So much of his burden could be lightened by 
Sir Saville ; and he would sit down at once and write to the 
old gentleman, asking him to undertake the charge. 

He moved to his writing-table and sat down at it. He 
had arranged the paper before him and taken up his pen, when 
he suddenly stopped, threw aside the pen, and flung himself 
back in his chair. What excuse was he about to make to his 
old master for his leaving London at so critical a period in 
his career ? He had not sufficiently considered that. He 
had intended saying that Mrs Wilmot's sudden death had 


had such an effect upon him physically and mentally, that he 
felt compelled to relinquish practice, at least for the present, 
and to seek abroad for that rest and change of scene which 
was absolutely necessary for him. He had turned the phrases 
very neatly in his mind, but he had forgotten one thing. 
He had forgotton his conversation with the old gentleman 
on the garden walk overhanging the brawling Tay on the 
morning when he received the telegram from Kilsyth. He 
had forgotten how he had laughed in derision when Sir Saville 
had asked him whether he was in love with his wife ; how he 
had curtly hinted that Mabel was all very well in her way, 
but holding a decidedly inferior position in his estimation to 
his practice and his work. He remembered all this now, and 
he saw how utterly futile it would be to attempt to put off 
his old friend with such a story. What, then, should be the 
excuse ? That his own health had given way under pressure 
of work ? Sir Saville knew well how highly Wilmot appre- 
ciated his professional opinion ; and had he believed the 
story — which was very unlikely — would have been hurt at 
his old pupil's rushing away without consulting him. In 
any case he must not see Sir Saville, who would undoubtedly 
cross-question him in detail about Mrs Wilmot's illness. He 
must write to the old gentleman, giving a very general state- 
ment and avoiding all particulars, and requesting him to take 
Madeleine under his charge. 

He did so. He wrote fully and affectionately to his old 
friend. He touched very slightly on the death of his wife, 
beyond hinting that that occurrence had necessitated his de- 
parting at once for the Continent on some law-business con- 
cerning property, by which he might probably be detained 
for some time. He went on to say that he had made ar- 
rangements for the transfer of his practice to "Whittaker, 
who had had it, as Sir Saville would remember, during 
Chudleigh's absence in Scotland ; but there was one special 
case, which he could only leave in the hands of Sir Saville 


himself: this was Miss Kilsyth. Sir Saville would remember 
his (Wilmot's) disinclination to accede to the request con- 
tained in the telegram on that eventful morning ; and indeed 
it seemed curious to himself now, when he thought of the 
interest which he took in all that household. Kilsyth him- 
self was the most charming, &c, and the best specimen of an, 
&c. ; Lady Muriel was also, and her little girls were angels. 
Miss Kilsyth was mentioned last of all the family in "Wil- 
mot's letter, and was merely described as " an interesting, 
amiable girl." This portion of the letter was principally 
occupied with details of her threatened disease ; and on re- 
perusing it before sending it away, Wilmot was greatly 
struck by, as it seemed to him, the capital manner in which 
he had made his interest throughout assume a purely pro- 
fessional form. But whether professionally or not, the in- 
terest was very earnestly put ; and the desire that the old 
gentleman should break through his retirement and attend 
to this particular case was very strongly expressed. In 
conclusion, "Wilmot said that he should send his address to 
his old friend, and that he hoped to be kept acquainted with 
Miss Kilsyth's state. 

Dr Wilmot did not send his letter to the post that night. 
He read it over the next morning after seeing his home 
patients, and when the carriage was at the door to take him 
off on his rounds. He was quite satisfied with the tone of 
the letter, which he placed in an envelope and was just about 
to seal, when his servant entered and announced " Captain 



" Captain Kilsyth ! " No time for Chudleigh Wilmot 
to deny himself, if even he had so wished ; no time to recover 
himself from the excitement which the announcement had 
aroused. He saw the broad dark outline of his visitor be- 
hind the servant. 

" Show Captain Kilsyth in." 

Captain Kilsyth came in. Wilmot noticed that he was 
very pale and stern-looking, but that there was no trace of 
yesterday's excitement about him. It had become second 
nature to Wilmot to notice these things ; and he found him- 
self critically examining Konald's external appearance, as he 
would that of a patient who had sought his advice. 

The men bowed to each other, and Eonald spoke first. 
"You will be surprised to see me here, Dr Wilmot," he 
said ; " but be assured that it is business of importance that 
brings me." 

Wilmot bowed again. He was fast recovering from his 
agitation, but scarcely dared trust himself to speak just yet. 
" I see your carriage is at the door, and I will detain you 
but a very few moments. You can give me, say, ten 
minutes? " 

Wilmot muttered that his time was at Captain Kilsyth's 
disposal; an avowal which apparently annoyed his visitor, 
for he said testily, " You and I should be above exchanging 
the polite trash of society, Dr Wilmot. I am come here to 
speak on a matter which concerns me deeply, and those very 
near and dear to me even more deeply still. Are you pre- 
pared to hear me ? " 

Those very near and dear to him ! Oh yes ; Wilmot was 
prepared to hear him fully, and said as much. Would Cap- 
tain Kilsyth be seated ? 


" I have come to talk to you, Dr Wilmot, as a friend/' 
commenced Ronald, dropping into a chair. " I daresay you 
are scarcely prepared for that avowal, considering my conduct 
at our interview yesterday in Brook-street. Then I was 
hasty and inconsiderate ; and for my conduct then I heg to 
tender my apologies frankly and freely. I trust they will 
be received ? " There was an odd square blunt honesty even 
in the manner in which he said this that prepossessed 

" As frankly and freely as they are offered," he replied. 

" So far agreed," said Eonald. " Now, look here. I am 
a very bad hand at beating about the bush ; and I have 
come here to say things the mere fact of saying which is, 
where men of honour are not concerned, compromising to 
one of the persons spoken of. I have every belief that you 
are a man of honour, and therefore I speak." 

Dr "Wilmot bowed again, and said that Captain Kilsyth 
complimented him. 

" No. I think too highly of you to do that. I simply 
speak what I believe to be true, from all I have heard of 
your doings at Kilsyth." 

Of his doings at Kilsyth ? A man of honour, from his 
doings at Kilsyth ? Though perfectly conscious that Eonald 
was watching him naiTowly, Chudleigh Wilmot's cheeks 
coloured deeply at this point, and he was silent. 

" Now, Dr Wilmot, I must begin by talking to you a 
little about myself — an unprofitable subject, but one neces- 
sary to be touched upon in this discourse between us. The 
men who are supposed to know me intimately — my own 
brother officers, I mean — will tell you that I am an oddity, 
an extraordinary fellow, and that they know nothing about 
me. Nothing is known of my likes or dislikes. I am be- 
lieved not to have any of either. Now this is an exaggerated 
view of the question. I don't know that I dislike any one 
in particular ; but I have my affections. I am very fond of 
my father; I adore my sister Madeleine." 



He spoke with such earnestness and warmth, that Wil- 
mot looked up at him, half in pleasure, half in wonder. 
Eonald noticed the glance, and said, " If you have heard me 
mentioned at all, Dr Wilmot, you have probably heard it 
said that I am a man with a stone instead of a heart, with 
the Cavalry Officer's Instructions instead of a Bible ; and 
therefore I cannot wonder at your look of astonishment. 
But what I have stated to you is pure and simple fact. I 
love these two infinitely better than my life." 

"Wilmot bowed again. He felt ashamed of bis reiterated 
acquiescence, but had nothing more satisfactory to proffer. 

"jSTow, I don't see much of my family," pursued Eonald. 
" Their ways of life are different from mine ; and except when 
they happen to be in London we are seldom thrown together. 
This may be to be regretted, or it may not ; at all events the 
fact is so. But whether I see them or not, my interest in 
them never slackens. There are people, I know — most peo- 
ple, I believe— to whom propinquity is a necessary ingredient 
for affection. They must be near those they love — must be 
brought into constant communication, personal communi- 
cation with them, or their love dies out. That is affection of 
a type which I cannot understand ; it is a great deal too 
spaniel-or ivy-like for my comprehension. I could go on for 
years without seeing those I love, and love them all the same. 
Consequently, although when the eight or nine weeks' whirl 
which my family calls the London season is at an end, and I 
scarcely see them until it begins again, I do not take less in- 
terest in their proceedings, nor is my keen affection for those 
I love one whit diminished. Tou follow ine ? " 

" So far, perfectly." 

" I was detained here on duty in London during last 
August and September ; and even if I had been free, I doubt 
whether I should have been with my people at Kilsyth. 
As I have just said, their ways of life, their amusements and 
pursuits, are different from mine, and I should probably have 



been following my own fancies somewhere else. But I always 
hear from some of them with the greatest regularity ; and I 
heard, of course, of my sister's illness, and of your being called 
in to attend upon her. Tour name was thoroughly familiar 
to me. What my friends call my ' odd ways ' have made me 
personally acquainted with several of the leading members of 
your profession ; and directly I heard that you had arrived at 
Kilsyth, I knew that Madeleine could not possibly be in 
better hands." 

To any one else Wilmot would have said that she could 
not have been under the charge of any one who would have 
taken greater interest in her case ; but he had not forgotten 
the interview of yesterday, and he forbore. 

" I was delighted to hear of your arrival at Kilsyth," con- 
tinued Eonald, " and I was deeply grateful to you for the 
unceasing care and anxiety which, as reported to me, you be- 
stowed upon my sister. The accounts which I received vied 
with each other in doing justice to your skill and your con- 
stant attention ; and I believe, as I know all at Kilsyth be- 
lieved, that, under Providence, we owe Madeleine's life to 

" You will pardon my interrupting you, Captain Kilsyth," 
said "Wilmot, speaking almost for the first time ; " but you 
give me more credit than I deserve. Miss Kilsyth was very 
ill ; but what she required most was constant attention and 
watching. The excellent doctor of the district — I forget his 
name, I'm ashamed to say — Joyce, Dr Joyce, would have 
been thoroughly efficient, and would have doubtless restored 
Miss Kilsyth to health as speedily as I did ; only unfortu- 
nately others had a claim upon him, and he could not devote 
his time to her." 

"Exactly what I was saying. I presume it will not 
be doubted that Dr Wilmot, of Charles-street, St James's — 
in his own line the principal physician of London — had as 
many calls upon his time even as the excellent doctor of the 



district, and yet he sacrificed all others to attend on Miss 

" Dr Wilmot was away from his patients on a holiday, and 
no one had a claim upon his time." 

" And he made the most of his holiday by spending a 
great portion of it in the sick-room of a fever-stricken patient ! 
No, no, Dr "Wilmot ; you made a great sacrifice undoubtedly. 
Now, why did you make it ? " 

He turned suddenly upon Wilmot as he spoke, and 
looked him straight in the face. Wilmot's colour came again ; 
he moved restlessly in his chair, pressed his hands nervously 
together, but said nothing. 

" I told you, Dr Wilmot, that I was about to speak of 
things the mere mention of which, were we not men of honour, 
would be compromising to some of the persons spoken. I 
ask you why you made that sacrifice of your professional 
time. I ask you not for information, because I know the 
reason. Before you left Kilsyth, I heard that my sister was 
receiving attention from a most undesirable quarter — from a 
quarter whence it was impossible that any good could arise. 
My sister is, as I have told you, dearer to me than my life, 
and the news distressed me beyond measure. I turned it 
over and over in my mind ; I made every possible kind of in- 
quiry. At length, on the evening on which you arrived in 
London and called on me at my club, I knew that you were 
the man alluded to by my informant." 

No change in Chudleigh Wilmot. His cheek is still 
flushed, his eyes still cast down ; still he moves restlessly in 
his chair, still his hands pluck nervously at each other. 

" I knew it, and yet I hardly could believe it. I knew 

that men of your profession, specially men of such eminence 

in your profession, were in the habit of being received and 

treated with the utmost confidence ; which confidence was 

never abused. I knew that bystanders and lookers-on, 

unaccustomed to illness, might very easily misconstrue the 



attention which a physician would pay to a young lady 
whose case had excited his strong professional interest. I 
■ — well, constrained to take the worst view of it — I knew 
that you were a married man, and I thought that you 
might have admired Miss Kilsyth, and that — -that when 
you left her — there — there would be an end of the feel- 

No change in Ohudleigh "Wilmot. His cheek is still 
flushed, his eyes still cast down ; still he moves restlessly 
in his chair, still his hands pluck nervously at each other. 
Something in his appearance seemed to touch Ronald Kil- 
syth as he looked at him earnestly, for he said : 

"I wish to God I could think so now, Dr Wilmot! I 
wish to Grod I could think so now ! But though I don't 
pretend to be versed in these matters, I have a certain 
amount of insight ; and when I saw yon standing by ray 
sister's side in the drawing-room in Brook-street yesterday, I 
knew that the information I had received was correct." He 
paused for an instant, and passed his hand across his fore- 
head, then resumed. " I am a blunt man, Dr Wilmot, but 
I trust neither coarse nor unsympathetic. I want to con- 
vey to you as quietly as possible that you have made a 
mistake ; that for every one's sake — ours, Madeleine's, your 
own — this thing cannot, must not be." 

A change in Chudleigh Wilmot now. He does not look 
up ; he covers his brow with his left hand ; but he says in 
a deep husky voice : 

" There is — as you are aware — a change in my circum- 
stances : I am — I am free now ; and perhaps — in the 
future — " 

" In no future, Dr Wilmot," interrupted Konald gravely 
but not unkindly. " Listen to me. If, as I half suspected 
you would, you had flung yourself into a rage,— denied, 
stormed, protested, — I should simply have said my say, and 
left you to make the best or the worst of it. But you 
have not done this, and — and I pity you most sincerely. 


Tou are, as you say, free now. You think probably there 
is no reason why, at some future time, you should not ask 
my sister to become your wife. Tou would probably urge 
your claims upon her gratitude — claims which you think 
she might possibly be brought to allow. It can never be, 
Dr Wilmot. I, who am anything but, in this sense, a 
■worldly man, even I know that your presence at Kilsyth, 
your long stay there, to the detriment of your home in- 
terests, your devotion to my sister, have already given 
matter for talk to the gossips of society, and received the 
usual amount of malicious comment. And if you have real 
regard for Madeleine, you Avould give up anything to shield 
her from that, indorsed as would be the imputation and 
intensified as would be the malice, if your relations with 
her were to be on any other footing than — they ought to 
have been." 

Quite silent now, Chudleigh Wilmot ; his hand still 
covering his brow, his head sunk upon his breast. 

" I said I pitied you ; and I do," continued Ronald. 
" And here, understand me, and let me explain one point in 
our position, Dr Wilmot. "What I have to say, though it may 
pain you in one way, will, I think, be satisfactory to you in 
another. You may think that Madeleine may be destined 
by her family for some — I speak without the least offence — 
some higher destiny ; that her family would wish for her a 
husband higher in social rank. I give you my honour that, 
as far as I am concerned, I could not, from all I have heard 
of you, wish my sister's future confided to a more honourable 
man. Social rank and dignity weigh very little with me. 
My life is passed generally with those who have won their 
spurs, rather than inherited their titles ; and I would infi- 
nitely sooner see my sister married to a man whose successful 
position in life was due to himself than to one who merely 
wore the reflected glory of his ancestors. So far you would 
have been a suitor entirely acceptable to me, had there not 
been the other unfortunate element in the 



Ronald ceased speaking, and for some minutes there was 
a dead silence. Then Chudleigh Wilmot raised his head, 
rose from his chair, and commenced pacing the room with 
long strides ; Ronald, perfectly understanding his emotion, 
remaining passively seated. At length "Wilmot stopped by 
Ronald's chair, and said : 

" When you entered this room, you told me you had 
come here to speak to me as a friend. I am bound to say 
that you have perfectly fulfilled that implicit promise. No 
one could have been more frank, more candid, and, I may 
say, more tender than you have been with me. My pro- 
fession," said Wilmot with a dreary smile, — " my profession 
teaches us to touch wounds tenderly, and you seem to be 
thoroughly imbued with the precept. Tou will do me the 
justice to allow that I have listened to you patiently ; that I 
have heard without flinching almost, certainly without com- 

Ronald bowed his head in acquiescence. 

" Now, then, I must ask you to listen to me. What I 
have to say to you is as sacred as what you have said to me, 
and will not, could not be mentioned by me to another living 
soul. When I received your father's telegram summoning 
me to your sister's bedside, there was no more heart-whole 
man in Britain than myself. When I use the word ' heart- 
whole,' I do not intend it to convey the expression of a per- 
fect content in the affections I possessed, as you, knowing I 
was married and settled, might understand it. I was heart- 
whole in the sense that, while I was thoroughly skilled in 
the physical state of my heart, its mental condition never 
gave me a thought. I had, as long as I could recollect, been 
a very hard-working man. I had married, when I first estab- 
lished myself in practice, principally, I believe, because I 
thought it the most prudent thing for a young physician to 
do ; but certainly not from any feeling that ever caused my 
heart one extra pulsation. Tou must not be shocked at this 


plain speaking. Eecollect that you are listening to an ana- 
tomical lecture, and go through with it. All the years of 
my married life passed without any such feeling being called 
into existence. My — my wife was a woman of quiet domestic 
temperament, who pursued her way quietly through life ; 
and I, thoroughly engrossed in my professional pursuits, 
never thought that life had anything better to engage in 
than ambition, better to offer than success. I went to Kil- 
syth, and for weeks was engaged in constant, unremitting 
attendance upon your sister. I saw her under circumstances 
which must to a certain extent have invested the most un- 
interesting woman in the world with interest ; I saw her 
deserted and shunned by every one else, and left entirely to 
my care ; I saw her in her access of delirium, and afterwards, 
when prostrate and weak, she was dependent on me for 
everything she wanted. And while she and I were thus 
together — I now combating the disease which assailed her, 
now watching the sweet womanly patience, the more than 
womanly courage, with which she supported its attacks — I, 
witnessing how pure and good she was, how soft and gentle, 
and utterly unlike anything I had ever seen, save perhaps in 
years long past, began to comprehend that there was, after 
all, something to live for beyond the attainment of success 
and the accumulation of fees." 

"Wilmot stopped here, and looked at his companion ; but 
Ronald's head was turned away, and he made no movement ; 
so "Wilmot proceeded. 

" I — I scarcely know how to go on here; but I determined 
to tell you all, and I will go through with it. Tou cannot 
tell, you cannot have the smallest idea of what I have suffered. 
You were pleased to call me a man of honour : God alone 
knows how I struggled to deserve that title from you, from 
every member of Miss Kilsyth's family. I succeeded so well, 
that until I noticed the expression of your face yesterday, 
I believed no one on earth knew of the Btate of my feel- 


ings towards that young lady. At Kilsyth, when I first felt 
the fascination creeping over me ; when I found that there 
was another, a better and a brighter be-all and end-all for 
human existence than I had previously imagined ; when I 
found that the whole of my career had hitherto lacked, and 
under then existent circumstances was likely to lack, all that 
could make it worth running after, the want had been dis- 
covered ; I did my best to shut my eyes to what might have 
been, and to content myself with what was. I knew that 
though my — my wife and I had never professed any extrava- 
gant affection for each other ; that though we had never been 
lovers, in the common acceptation of the word, she had dis- 
charged her duty most faithfully to me, and that I should be 
a scoundrel to be untrue to her in thought — in word, of 
course, from other considerations, it was impossible. I did 
my best, and my best availed. I succeeded so far, that I left 
your father's house with the knowledge that my secret was 
locked in my own breast, and that I had never made the 
slightest tentative advance to your sister, to see if she were 
even aware of its existence. More than this. During my 
attendance on Miss Kilsyth, I had discovered that she was 
suffering from a threatening of what the world calls con- 
sumption. I felt it my duty to mention this to your father, 
and he requested me to attend her professionally when the 
family returned to London. I agreed — to him ; but I had 
long reflection on the subject during my return journey, and 
had almost decided to decline, on some pretext or another. 

" Hear me but a little longer. I need not dwell to 
you upon the event which has occurred since I left Scot- 
land, and which has left me a free man — free to enjoy 
legitimately that happiness, a dream of which dawned upon 
me at Kilsyth, and which I shut out and put aside because it 
was then wrong and almost unattainable. Circumstances 
are now so altered, that it is certainly not the former, and it 
is yet to be proved whether, so far as the young lady ia con- 


eerned, it is the latter. In my desire to do right, even with 
the feeling of relief and release which I had, even with the 
hope which I do not scruple to confess I have nourished, I 
kept from Brook-street until a line from Miss Kilsyth sum- 
moned me thither. When you met me yesterday, I was 
there in ohedience to her summons. Tou know that, I sup- 
pose, Captain Kilsyth ? " 

'• I made inquiries yesterday, and heard so. I said at the 
outset, Dr Wilmot, that you were a man of honour. Your 
conduct since your return, and since the return of my family, 
weighed with me in the utterance of that opinion." 

" I did not go to Brook-street — not that I did not fully 
comprehend the change in the nature of my position since I 
had last seen Miss Kilsyth, not that I had not a certain 
half-latent feeling of hope that I might, now I had the legiti- 
mate chance, be enabled to rouse an interest in her, but be- 
cause I thought it was better to stay away. If I did not see 
her again, I preposterously attempted to argue to myself, the 
feeling that I had for her might die out. I have seen her 
again. I have heard from you that my feelings towards 
your sister are known — at least to you ; and now I ask you 
whether you still think that, under existing circumstances, it 
is impossible for me to ask Miss Kilsyth to be my wife at 
some future date? " 

As Chudleigh Wilmot stopped speaking, he bent over 
the back of the chair by which he had been standing during 
the latter part of his speech, and looked long and earnestly 
at Ronald. It was very seldom that Captain Kilsyth dropped 
his eyes before any one's gaze ; but on this occasion he passed 
his hand hastily across them, and kept them for some minutes 
fixed upon the ground. A very hard struggle was going on 
in Ronald Kilsyth's mind. He was firmly persuaded that 
the decision he had originally taken, and which he had come 
to Charles-street for the purpose of insisting on with Wil- 
mot, was the right one. And yet Wilmot's story, in itself 


so touching, had been so plainly and earnestly told, there 
was such evident honesty and candour in the man, that 
Eonald's heart ached to be compelled to destroy the hopes 
which he felt certain that his companion had recently 
cherished. Moreover, in saying that in considering Made- 
leine's future, his aspirations for her marriage took no heed 
of rank or wealth, Ronald simply spoke the truth. He had 
a slight tendency to hero-worship ; and a man of "Wilmot's 
talent, and, as he now found, of "Wilmot's integrity and gen- 
tlemanly feeling, was just the person of whose friendship and 
alliance he would have been proud. Madeleine too ? In 
his own heart Eonald felt perfectly certain that Madeleine 
was already gratefully fond of her preserver, and would soon 
become as passionately attached to him as the mildness of 
her nature would admit ; while he knew that she would not 
feel that she was descending from her social position — that 
she was " marrying beneath her," to use the ordinarily ac- 
cepted phrase, in the smallest degree. And yet — no, it was 
impossible ! He, Eonald Kilsyth, the last man in the world 
to care for the talk of " on," " they," " everybody," the social 
scandal, and the club chatter, while it concerned himself, 
shrunk from it most sensitively when it threatened any one 
dear to him. Physicians were all very well — every one knew 
them of course, necessarily ; but their wives — . Eonald was 
trying to recollect how many physicians' wives he had ever 
met in society, when he recollected that it was Madeleine, 
who could of course hold her own position ; and then came 
a thought of Lady Muriel, and the influence which she had 
over his father when they were both tolerably agreed upon 
the subject. It was impossible ; and he must say so. 

He looked up straightforwardly and honestly at his 
companion, and said, " I wish to God that I could give you 
a different answer, Dr "Wilmot ; but I cannot. I still think 
it is impossible." 

" I think so too," said Wilmot sadly. " I ha-ye looked at 


it, as you may imagine, from the most hopeful aspect ; and 
even then I am compelled to confess that you are right. 
But, see here, Captain Kilsyth ; whatever I make up my 
mind to I can go through with, — all save slow torture. My 
doom must be short and sharp — no lingering death. What 
I mean to say is," he continued, striving to repress the knot 
rising in his throat, — " what I mean to say is, that as I am 
to give up this hope of my life, I must quench it utterly and 
at once, not suffer it to smoulder and die out. Ton tell me 
— no ! " he added, as Eonald put out his hand. "I do not 
mean you personally, believe me. I am told tha^ I must 
abandon any idea of asking Miss Kilsyth to be my wife, and 
— and I agree. But — I must never see Miss Kilsyth again. 
I could not risk the chance of meeting her here, there, and 
everywhere. I would not run the chance of being thrown 
with her again. I should do my best to hold to the line of 
conduct I have marked out for myself; but I am but mortal, 
and, as such, liable to err." 

" Then, in heaven's name, what do you intend to do with 
yourself ? " asked Eonald, with one hand plucking at his 
moustache, and the other hooked round the back of the chair. 

"To do with myself!" echoed Wilmot. " To fly from 
temptation. The thing that every sensible man does when 
he really means to win. It is only your braggarts who stop 
and vaunt the excellence of their virtue, and give in after 
all. Eead that letter, Captain Kilsyth, and you will see 
that I have anticipated the object of your visit." 

Eonald took the letter to Sir Saville Eowe which "Wilmot 
handed to him, and read it through carefully. The tears 
stood in his eyes as he handed it back. 

" You're a noble fellow, Dr Wilmot," said he ; " such a 
gentleman as one seldom meets with. But this will never 
do. Tou must never think of giving up your practice." 

" Tor a time at least ; it is the only way. I must cure 


myself of a disease that has laid firm hold upon me before I 
can be of any use to my patients, I fancy " 

" When do you purpose going ? " 

" At once, or within the week." 

"And where?" 

" I don't know. Through Germany— to Vienna, I 
imagine. Vienna is a great stronghold of the savans of our 
profession ; and I should give out that I was bound thither 
on a professional mission." 

" I feel as though there is nothing I would not give to 
dissuade you from carrying out what only half an hour since 
my heart was so earnestly set upon. But is. it absolutely 
necessary that you should thus exile yourself? Could you 

" I can take no half measures," said Wilmot decisively. 
" I go, or I stay ; and we have both decided what I had 
better do." 

Tive minutes more and Eonald was gone, after a short 
and earnest speech of gratitude and thanks to Wilmot, in 
which he had said that it would be impossible ever to forget 
his manly chivalry, and that he hoped they would soon meet 
under happier auspices. He wrung Wilmot's hand at part- 
ing, and left, sensibly affected. 

Wilmot's servant heard the hall-door shut behind the 
departing visitor, and wondered he had not been rung for. 
Eive minutes more elapsed, ten minutes, and then the man, 
thinking that his master had overlooked the fact that the 
carriage was waiting for him, went up to the room to make 
the announcement. When he entered the room, he found 
his master with his head upon the table in front of him 
clasped in his hands. He looked up at the sound of the 
man's voice, and murmured something unintelligible, seized 
his hat and gloves from the hall-table, and jumped into his 


" He was ghastly pale when he first looked up," said the 
man to the female circle downstairs, " and had great red 
lines round his eyes. Sometimes I think he's gone off his 
'ead ! He's never been the same man since missus's death." 



Me Fouambe did not easily throw off the painful im- 
pression which his interview with Chudleigh "Wilmot had 
made upon him. The old gentleman had always found Wil- 
mot, though not an expansive, a singularly frank person ; 
he had not indeed ever spoken much to him concerning his 
wife or his domestic affairs generally ; but men do not do so 
habitually ; and the men to whom their wives are most dear 
and important rarely mention them at all. The circumstance 
had therefore made no impression upon Mr Foljanibe, him- 
self a confirmed old bachelor, who, though very kind and 
considerate to women and children, regarded them rather as 
ornamental trifles, with a tendency to degenerate into 
nuisances, than otherwise. 

He began by wondering why Wilmot should have been 
so thoroughly upset by his wife's death, and went on to 
speculate how long that very unexpected and undesirable 
result might be likely to last. Becoming sanguine and 
comparatively cheerful at this point, he made up his mind 
that Chudleigh would get over it before long. Perhaps all 
had not gone very smooth with the Wilmots. Not that he 
had any particular reason to think so ; but Wilmot was not 
a remarkably domestic man, and there might be perhaps a 
little spice of self-reproach in his sorrow. At all events, it 
would not last; that might be looked upon as certain. In 


the mean time, and in order that the world might not think 
Wilmot's conduct silly, sentimental, or mysterious, Mr Fol- 
jambe would be beforehand with the gossips and the curious, 
and, by assigning to his absence from England a motive in 
which the interests of his profession and those of his health 
should be combined, prevent the risk of its being imputed to 
anything so roooco as deep feeling. 

" Gad, I'll do it," said Mr Foljambe, as he took his seat 
in his faultless brougham, having carefully completed an ir- 
reproachable afternoon toilette, in which every article of 
costume was integrally perfect and of the highest fashion, 
but as scrupulously adapted to his time of life as the dress of 
a Frenchwoman of middle or indeed of any age. " I'll go 
and inquire for that Kilsyth girl, and set the right story 
afloat there," he said, as he gave his coachman the necessary 
orders ; " it will soon find its way about town, especially if 
that carrier-pigeon Caird is in the way " 

And the old gentleman, chuckling over his own clever- 
ness in hitting on so happy a device, felt almost reconciled 
already to the deprivation which he was doomed to suffer in 
the loss of Wilmot's society by the opportunity which it 
afforded him of exercising the small social talents, of which 
he really possessed a good many, and believed himself to 
be endowed with a good many more. 

Lady Muriel Kilsyth was at home, likewise Miss Kilsyth ; 
and her ladyship " rec-iived " that afternoon. So Mr Fol- 
jambe, who, though an admittedly old man, long past the 
elderly stage, and no longer a pretention in any sense, was as 
welcome a visitor in a London drawing-room as the curliest 
of darlings and most irresistible of guardsmen, made his way 
nimbly upstairs, and was ushered into the presence of the 
two ladies, who formed an exceedingly pretty and effective 
domestic group. 

Madeleine Kilsyth, who had recovered her beauty, though 
a little of her brilliance and her bloom was still wanting, was 


drawing, while her Btep-mother stood a little hehind her 
chair, her dark graceful head bent over her shoulder, and 
directed her pencil. Mr Foljambe's glance lighted on the 
two faces as he entered the room, and they inspired him with 
an instantaneous compliment, which he turned with grace, a 
little old-fashioned, but the more attractive. They answered 
him pleasantly ; Lady Muriel gave him her hand ; Madeleine 
Buffered him to take both hers, and repaid the long look of 
interest with which he regarded her with her sweetest smile ; 
then resumed her occupation, and listened, as she drew, to 
the conversation between Lady Muriel and Mr Foljambe. 

At first their talk was only of generalities : what the 
ladies had been doing since they came to London, the extent 
of Madeleine's drives, how many of their acquaintance had 
also arrived, the prospects of society for the winter, and cog- 
nate topics. They had seen a good deal of Eonald, Lady 
Muriel told Mr Foljambe ; and her brother's presence had 
been a great pleasure to Madeleine. A close observer might 
have thought that Madeleine's expression of countenance 
did not altogether confirm this statement ; but her old friend 
was not a close observer of young ladies, and Lady Muriel 
did not look at her step-daughter as she spoke. After a 
while Mr Foljambe turned the conversation upon Made- 
leine's illness, and so, in the easiest and most natural way, 
introduced Wilmot's name. Lady Muriel's manner of meet- 
ing this topic was admirable. She never failed in the aplomb 
which is part of the armour of a woman of the world ; and 
though she never again could hear "Wilmot's name mentioned 
with real composure, she had the mock article always at 
hand; so skilful an imitation as successfully to defy de- 

" A fine fellow, is he not, Lady Muriel ? " said Mr Fol- 
jambe, in the tone of a father desirous of hearing the praises 
of his favourite son. 

" Indeed he is," responded Lady Muriel heartily. " He 


has laid us under an obligation which we can never discharge 
or forget. I am sure Kilsyth and I reckon him among the 
most valued of our friends." 

" He took the deepest interest in Miss Kilsyth's case, I 
know," said Mr Foljambe ; " and of course there was every- 
thing to excite such a feeling ; " and the gallant old gentle- 
man bowed in the direction of Madeleine, who acknowledged 
the compliment with a most becoming blush. 

" Ifc was a very anxious, a very trying time," said Lady 
Muriel, in the precise tone which suited the sentiment. " I 
don't know how Kilsyth would have borne it, had it not 
been for Dr "Wilmot. "We were much distressed to hear 
that such bad news awaited him on his return. He found 
his wife dying, did he not ? " 

" He found her dead, Lady Muriel." 

There was a pause, during which Madeleine laid aside 
her pencil, and shaded her face with her hand. The tears 
were standing in her blue eyes ; and while Mr Foljambe 
proceeded, they streamed unchecked down her face. 

" Tes, he found her dead. It was a sudden termination 
to an illness which had nothing serious in it, to all appear- 
ance. But, as many another illness has done, ifc set all 
human calculations at naught ; and when the bad symptoms 
set in, it was too late for him to reach her in time. I sup- 
pose he has not told you anything about it ? " 

'• Xo," said Lady Muriel ; " beyond a few words of con- 
dolence, to which he made a very brief reply, nothing has 
been said. I fancy Dr Wilmot is a man but little given to 
talking of his own affairs or his own feelings." 

" Not given to talking of them at all, Lady Muriel. I 
never met a more reticent man, even with myself- and I 
flatter myself he has no closer friend, none with whom he is 
on more confidential terms ; he is very reserved in some 
things. I did not know much of his wife." 

" Did you not ? " said Lady Muriel ; " how was that ? " 


" When I say I did not know much of her," Mr Pol- 
jambe explained, " I do not mean that it was from any fault 
of mine. I called onee or twice, but there was something 
sullen and impenetrable and uninteresting about her, and I 
never felt any real intimacy with her." 

" Indeed ! " said Lady Muriel, " it is impossible to know 
Dr Wilmot without feeling interested in all that concerns 
him ; and I have often wished to know what sort of woman 
his wife was." 

" Well, that is precisely what very few persons in the 
Avorld could have told you ; and I, for one, acknowledge my- 
self astonished at the effect her death has had on Wilmot." 

" He is dreadfully cut up by it certainly," said Lady 
Muriel ; " but I hope, and suppose, he will recover it, as 
other people have to recover troubles of that and every other 

" He is taking the best means of getting over it," said 
Mr Foljambe ; " and I heartily enter into the notion, and 
have encouraged him in it. He thinks of going abroad for 
some time. I know he has been very anxious to study the 
foreign treatment of diseases in general, and of fever in par- 
ticular ; and he came to me yesterday and told me he meant 
to leave London for six months at least. He assigned sound 
reasons for such a determination, and I think it is the wisest 
at which he could possibly have arrived." 

Lady Muriel rose and rang the bell. The fire required 
mending, and the brief afternoon twilight rendered the 
lamps a necessity earlier than usual. When these things 
had been attended to, she took up the 'dialogue where it had 
been broken off with all her accustomed grace and skill. 

" I did not know we were about to lose Dr Wilmot for a 
time," she said. " If all his friends and patients miss him 
as much as Madeleine Kilsyth and myself are likely to do 
his absence is likely to create a sensation indeed. And so 
poor Mrs Wilmot was not a very amiable woman ? " 


Mr Foljambe had not said anything about Mrs "Wilmot's 
amiability, or the opposite, but he let the observation pass 
in sheer bewilderment ; and that Lady Muriel Kilsyth un- 
derstood as well as he did. She went on. " A man like Dr 
Wilmot must miss companionship at home very much. Of 
course he can always command the resources of society, but 
they would not be welcome to him yet awhile. How long 
does he speak of remaining away, Mr Foljambe ? " 

" He did not mention any particular time in talking the 
matter over with me. His destination is Berlin, I believe. 
He is anxious to investigate some medical system carried on 
there, which I need not say neither you nor I know anything 
about. He was very eloquent upon it, I assure you ; and I 
am glad to perceive that ail his trouble has not decreased his 
interest in the one great object of his life." 

" His professional advancement, I suppose?" said Lady 

" Well, not exactly that. I think he must retard that by 
any, and especially by an indefinite, absence. It is rather to 
his profession itself, to science in the abstract, I allude. He 
always had a perfect thirst for knowledge, and the greatest 
powers of application I have ever known any man possessed 
of. A ' case ' was in his eyes the most important of human 
affairs. He would throw himself into the interest of hia 
attendance upon a patient with preternatural energy. I am 
sure you discovered that while he was at Kilsyth." 

"Yes indeed; his care of Madeleine was beyond all 
praise, or indeed description. No doubt, had any other op- 
portunity offered, we should have found, as you say, that 
such devotion was not a solitary instance." 

" Oh no, "Wilmot is always the same. Tou know, I pre- 
sume, that I required his services very urgently indeea jus 1 
then ; but he would not leave Miss Kilsyth's case for ever 
so old and near a friend as I am." 

Madeleine's colour deepened, and she listened to th 


conversation, in which she had taken no share, with increased 

" I know that some one telegraphed to him, hut that he 
kindly said Madeleine's case heing the more urgent of the 
two, he would remain with her. And you were none the 
worse, it seems, Mr Foljambe ? " 

"~No indeed, Lady Muriel," replied the old gentleman 
with a good-humoured smile. " Wilmot's deputy did quite 
as well for me as the mighty potentate of medicine himself. 
But I acknowledge I was a little annoyed ; and if any one 
but my old friend Kilsyth's daughter had been the detaining 
cause, I should have been tempted to play Wilmot a trick, 
by pretending that some extraordinary and entirely novel 
symptoms had appeared. He would have come fast enough 
then, I warrant you, for the chance of finding out something 
new about gout." 

Lady Muriel laughed, but Madeleine apparently did not 
perceive the joke. Soon some other callers dropped in, and 
Mr Foljambe took his leave. But the. subject of Wilmot 
and his contemplated abandonment of London was not 
abandoned on his departure. He was well known to the 
" set " in which the Kilsyths moved, though their own ac- 
quaintance with him was so recent, and every one had some- 
thing to say about the rising man. The sentimental view of 
the subject was very general. It was so very charming to 
think of any man, especially one so talented, so popular, so 
altogether delightful as Wilmot, being " broken-hearted " by 
the death of his wife. Lady Muriel gently insinuated, once 
or twice, a doubt whether there was any ground for this 
very congenial but rather romantic supposition :■ her doubts, 
however, were by no means well received, and she found 
herself overwhelmed with evidence of the irremediably deso- 
late condition of Wilmot's heart. 

When the afternoon calls had come to an end, and Lady 
Muriel and her step-daughter were in their respective rooms 



and about to dress for dinner, the mind of each was in accord 
with that of the other, inasmuch as the same subject of con- 
templation engrossed both. But the harmony went no 
farther. Nothing could be more opposite than the effect 
produced upon Madeleine and Lady Muriel by Mr Fol- 
jambe's news, and by all the desultory discussion and specu- 
lation which had followed its announcement. 

To Madeleine the knowledge that she should see "Wil- 
mot no more for an indefinite period was like a sentence of 
death. The young girl was profoundly unconscious of the 
meaning of her own feelings. That the sentiment which she 
entertained towards Wilmot was love, she never for a 
moment dreamed. In him the ideal of an elevated and 
refined fancy had found its realization ; he was altogether 
different from the men she had hitherto met since her 
emancipation from the schoolroom ; different from the hunt- 
ing, shooting devotees of field-sports, or the heavy country 
gentlemen given to farming and local politics, who fre- 
quented Kilsyth ; different from the associates of her brother, 
who, whether they were merely fashionable and empty, or 
formal and priggish like Ronald himself, were essentially 
distasteful to her. She was of a dreamy and romantic 
temperament, to which the delicacy of health and the not 
quite congenial conditions of her life at home contributed 
not a little ; and she had seen in Wilmot the man of talent, 
action, and resolve, the realization of the nineteenth-century 
heroic ideal. To admire and reverence him ; to find the 
best and most valuable of resources in his friendship, the 
wisest and truest guidance in his intellect, the most exquisite 
of pleasures in his society ; to triumph in his fame, and try 
to merit his approval, — such was the girl's scheme for the 
future. But it never occurred to her that there was one 
comprehensive and forbidden word in which the whole oi 
this state of feeling might be accurately defined. She had 
grieved for Wilmot's grief when she heard of the death oi 


his wife, but at the same time a subtle instinct, which she 
never questioned and could not have denned, told her that 
his marriage had not been a happy one, according to her 
enthusiastic girlish notion of a happy marriage. She did 
not know anything about it ; she had no idea what sort of 
woman Chudleigh "Wilmot's wife was, but she had felt, by 
the nameless sense which, had she been an elder woman 
with ever so little experience, would have enlightened her 
as to the nature of her own feelings, that he was not really 
attached to her to the extent which alone seemed to her to 
imply happiness in the conjugal relation. So, when Made- 
leine heard that Wilmot was going abroad, and heard her 
step-mother's visitors talk about his being " broken-hearted," 
she felt equally wretched and incredulous. Sentimental 
reason for this resolution she did not, she could not accept ; 
the other was exquisitely painful to her. Had he, indeed, 
so absorbing a love for his professional studies? Was he 
really occupied by them to the exclusion of all else ; had 
her " case," and not herself, been his attraction at Kilsyth? 
If Mr Eoljambe had really resorted to the device he had 
spoken of, would Wilmot have left her ? To none of these 
questions could Madeleine find an answer inside her own 
breast, or without it ; so they tortured her. Her vision of 
seeing him frequently, of making him her friend — the vision 
which had so strangely beautified the prospect of her stay 
in London, — faded suddenly ; and unconscious of all the 
idea meant and implied, the girl said to herself, " If he had 
cared for me — not as I care for him, of course that could 
not be— but ever so little, he would not go away." 

Very different were Lady Muriel's meditations. To her 
this resolve on the part of "Wilmot was peculiarly welcome. 
In the first place, she was a thorough woman of the world, 
and free from the impetuosity of youth. She was quite 
willing to be deprived of Wilmot's society for the present, 
if, as she calculated would be the case, he should return 


under circumstances which would enable her to reckon with 
increased security upon gaining the influence over him to 
which she ardently aspired, to which she aspired more and 
more ardently as each day proved to her how strong an im- 
pulse her life had taken from this new source. She cared 
little from what motive Wilmot's resolve had sprung. If in- 
deed he had deeply loved, and if indeed he did desperately 
mourn his wife, the very power and violence of the feeling 
would react upon itself, and force him to accept consolation 
all the sooner that he had proved the greatness of his need 
of it. He would be absent during the dark time when grief 
forms an eclipse, and he would emerge from its shadow into 
the brightness which she would cause to shine upon his life. 
She did not anticipate that his absence would be greatly 
prolonged, but she did not shrink, even supposing it should 
be, from the interval. She had enough to do within its 
duration. Lady Muriel was as thoroughly acquainted with 
Madeleine's love for "Wilmot as the girl was ignorant that 
she loved him. There was not a corner of her innocent 
heart which the keen experienced eye of her step-mother 
had not scanned and examined narrowly. 

In Madeleine's perfect ignorance of the real nature of 
her own feelings Lady Muriel's best security for the success 
of her wishes and designs lay. As she had no notion that 
her love was aught but liking, she would be the more easily 
persuaded that her liking was love. She had a liking for 
Eamsay Caird. The gay, careless, superficial good-nature 
of the young man, his easy gentlemanly manners, and the 
familiarity with which his intercourse with the Kilsyth 
family was invested in consequence of his relationship to 
Lady Muriel, were all pleasing to the young girl; and 
probably, "next to Eonald," she preferred Eamsay Caird to 
any man of her acquaintance. Of late, too, an unexplained 
something had come between Madeleine and her brother — a 
certain restraint, a subtle sense of estrangement — which 


Lady Muriel thoroughly understood, but for which Made- 
leine could not have accounted, and shrunk from acknow- 
ledging to herself. This unexplained something, which 
made her look forward to Eonald's visits with greatly 
decreased pleasure, and made her involuntarily silent and 
depressed in his presence, told considerably in Ramsay 
Caird' s favour; for it led to Madeleine's according him an 
increased share of her attention. The young man was a 
constant visitor at the Kilsyths' ; and there was so much 
decision in Madeleine's liking for him, that she missed him 
if by any chance he was absent of an evening, and occasion- 
ally was heard to wonder what could have kept Mr Caird 

Madeleine's delicate health furnished Lady Muriel with 
a sufficient and reasonable pretext for keeping her at home 
in the evenings ; and she contrived to make it evident that 
Ramsay Caird's presence constituted a material difference 
in the dulness or the pleasantness of the little party which 
assembled with tolerable regularity in the drawing-room. 
Ronald would come in for an hour or so, and then Made- 
leine would be particularly prevenante towards Ramsay 
Caird ; an innocent and unconscious hypocrisy, poor child, 
which her step-mother perfectly understood, and which she 
saw with deep though concealed satisfaction. 

On the evening of the day when Mr Foljambe had dis- 
cussed Wilmot's departure with Lady Muriel and Madeleine, 
the elder lady was a little embarrassed by the manifest effect 
on the looks and the spirits of the younger which the in- 
telligence had produced. At dinner Kilsyth perversely 
chose to descant on the two themes with all a single-minded 
man's amiable pertinacity, and, of course, without the 
smallest conception that any connection existed between 
them. He was quite aggrieved at Wilmot's departure, and 
called on every one to take notice of Madeleine's looks in 
confirmation of the loss ho and his in particular must sus- 


tain by his absence. Eonald was of the party ; and he pre- 
served so marked and ungracious a silence, that at length 
even Kilsyth could not avoid noticing it, and said : 

" I suppose you are the only man who knows him, 
Eonald, who underrates Wilmot ; and I really believe you 
think we make quite an unnecessary fuss about him." 

" I by no means underrate the abilities of your medical 
attendant, sir," Eonald answered in his coldest and driest 
tone, and, as Madeleine felt in all her shrinking nerves, 
though she dared not look up to meet it, with a moody 
searching glance at her ; " but, admirable as he may be in 
his proper capacity and his proper place, I cannot quite ap- 
preciate his social importance." 

" Just listen to him, Muriel," said Kilsyth in a provoked 
but yet good-humoured tone. " What wonderful fellows 
these young men are ! He actually talks of a man like 
"Wilmot as if he were a general practitioner or an apothe- 
cary's apprentice ! " 

Lady Muriel interposed, and turned off this somewhat 
perilous and peace-breaking remark Avith one of the grace- 
ful, skilful generalities of which she always had a supply 
ready for emergencies. Eonald contented himself with a 
half-smile of contempt at his father's enthusiastic misrepre- 
sentation. Madeleine talked energetically to Eamsay 
Caird ; and the matter dropped. 

To be resumed in the drawing-room, however. Made- 
leine's looks were not improved when her father and the 
two young men joined her and Lady Muriel. She was 
dreaming over a book which she was pretending to read, 
when Kilsyth came up to her, took her chin in his hand, 
and turned up her face to his and to the light. 

Tears were trembling in her blue eyes. 

" Hallo, Maddy," said her father, " what's this ? You're 
nervous, my darling ! I knew you were not well. Has 
anything fretted you ? — Has anything vexed her, Muriel ? " 


"ISTo, papa, nothing; nothing at all," said Madeline, 
making a strong effort to recover herself. " I have got hold 
of a sorrowful book, that's all." 

" Have you, my dear ? then put it away. Let's look at 
it. Why, it's l J iekwick, I declare ! Maddy, what can ail 
you ? How could you possibly cry over anything in Pick- 
wick ? " 

" I don't know that, sir," said Ramsay, jantily and jovially 
coming to Madeleine's assistance, without the faintest notion 
of anything beyond her being "badgered by the governor." 
" There's the dying clown, you know, and the queer client. 
I've cried over them myself; or at least I've been very near 
it." And he sat down beside Madeleine, and applied him- 
self with success to rousing and amusing her. Ronald said 
nothing, and very soon went away. 

" I'm determined on one thing, Muriel," said Kilsyth to 
his wife when they were alone ; "I'll have a long talk with 
"Wilmot before he goes, and get the fullest instructions from 
him about Madeleine. I have no confidence in any one else 
in her case, and I'll write to Wilmot about it, and ask him 
to come here professionally, as soon as he can, the first thing 
to-morrow morning." 



If the interview which had taken place between Chud- 
leigh Wilmot and Henrietta Prendergast had had unfortunate 
results for the one, it had been proportionably, if not equally, 
unpleasant to the other. It was impossible that Henrietta 
could have sustained a more complete discouragement, a 
more telling and unmistakable defeat, than she felt had be- 


fallen, her when, after Wilmot had left her, she went over 
every point of their conversation, and considered the inter- 
view in every possible aspect. She had at once, or at least 
at a very early stage, discerned that some fresh disturbing 
cause existed in Wilmot's mind. She had seen him, on the 
memorable occasion of their first interview after his wife's 
death, horrified, confounded, and unfeignedly distressed. 
However little he had loved his wife, however passing and 
shallow the impression made upon him by the sudden and 
untimely event might prove — and Mrs Prendergast was 
prepared to find it prove shallow and passing — it had been 
real, single, intelligible. He had received the painful com- 
munication which she had been charged to make to him with 
surprise, with sorrow — no doubt, in his secret soul, with 
bitter, regretful, vain remorse. She could only surmise this 
part of his feelings. He had not departed from the manly 
reticence which she had expected from him, and for which 
she admired him ; but she never doubted that he had experi- 
enced such remorse, — vain, bitter, and regretful. 

All the information which had drifted to her knowledge 
since — and though she was not a distinctly curious or mean- 
natured woman, Mrs Prendergast was not above cultivating 
and maintaining friendly relations with Dr "Wilmot's house- 
hold, to all of whom she was as well known, and had been 
nearly as' important, a3 their late mistress— had confirmed 
her in the belief that the conduct of the suddenly-bereaved 
husband had been all that propriety, good feeling, good 
taste, and good sense could possibly require. She had not 
precisely defined in her imagination what it was that she 
looked for and expected in the interview which Wilmot had 
requested, with a little too much formality, certainly, to be 
reassuring with regard to any notions she might possibly 
have entertained with respect to the freedom and intimacy 
of their future relations. But she did not suffer herself to 
dwell on that matter of the formality. It was not unnatural ; 


there are persons, she knew, to whom that sort of tiling 
seems proper wben a death — what may be called an intimate 
death, that is to say — has taken place, who change all their 
ways and manners for a time, just as they put on mourning 
and use lugubrious stationery. It was not very like what 
she would have expected of Wilmot, to enrol himself in the 
number of these formalists ; but she did not allow the cir- 
cumstance to impress her disagreeably. She possessed pa- 
tience in as marked a degree as she possessed intelligence — 
patience, a much rarer and nearly as valuable a quality — and 
she was satisfied to wait until time should enable her to 
arrive at the free and frequent association with Wilmot, 
which was the first step to the end she had in view, and 
meant to keep in view. She was perfectly clear upon that 
point ; none the less clear that she did not discuss it in her 
own thoughts, or ponder over it; but she laid it quietly 
aside, to be produced and acted on when it should be re- 

Therefore Henrietta Prendergast was disquieted and 
disconcerted by the tone and manner which Wilmot had 
assumed during their interview. Disquieted, because there 
was something in and under them which she could not 
fathom; disconcerted, because everything in the interview 
betrayed and disappointed the expectations she had formed, 
and because her intention of conveying to Wilmot, by a 
frank and friendly manner, that it was within his power to 
continue in his own person the intimacy which had subsisted 
between herself and his wife, had been utterly routed and 

"There was something in his mind with regard to 
Mabel," she said to herself, as she sat at her tea in her snug 
drawing-room on the same afternoon ; " there certainly was 
something in his mind about her which was not in it when I 
saw him last. I wonder what it is. I wonder whether he 
has found anything ? I am sure she never kept a journal ; 


I shouldn't think so ; I fancy no one ever does in real life, 
except they are so important as to be wanted for public pur- 
poses, or so vain as to think such demand likely. Besides, 
Mabel's trouble was not tragical ; it was only monotonous 
and uneventful. No ; I am sure she did not keep a journal. 
So he has not found one; and he has not found any letters 
either. Mabel had very few to keep, and she burnt the 
scanty collection just as her illness began. I remember 
coming suddenly into the room, and fluttering the ashes all 
over her bed and toilet-table by opening the door. Yes, to 
be sure, the window was open; and she had had a fire 
kindled on purpose." 

Mrs Prendergast leaned her face upon her hand, struck 
her teaspoon thoughtfully against the edge of the tea-tray, 
and pondered deeply. She was trying to recall every little 
incident connected with the dead woman, in the endeavour 
to discover the secret of Wilmot's demeanour that day. 

" Tes, she was sitting by the fire ; a sandalwood box 
was on the floor, and a heap of ashes in the grate. I 
remember looking rather surprised, and she said, 'You 
know, Hettie, one never can tell what may happen. You 
nor I either cannot tell whether I shall ever recover ; and 
it is well to have all things in readiness.' I thought the 
observation rather absurd particularly, however true it 
might be generally, and told her so, for she was by no 
means seriously ill then. She still persisted, however. 
What a remarkable feature of poor Mabel's illness, by the 
bye, was her persistent and unalterable belief that she 
should die ! To wish to die, no doubt, assisted it much at 
the end; but the conviction laid hold on her from the 

Then Mrs Prendergast remembered how Mrs "Wilmot 
had left everything in readiness ; every article of household 
property, all her own private possessions, everything which 
had claimed her care, provided for; and though she knew 


that instances) of such a morbid state of mind were not 
altogether wanting in the case of women in Mrs Wilmot's 
state of health, she did not feel that such an hypothesis 
accounted for this particular case satisfactorily. In all 
other respects there had been such equality of disposition, 
common sense, and absence of fancifulness about her friend, 
that she could not accept the explanation which suggested 
itself. This was not the first time that she had thought 
over this circumstance. It had been brought before her 
very forcibly when a packet was sent to her, with a kind 
but formal note from Wilmot, a day or two after his wife's 
funeral ; which packet contained a few articles of jewelry 
and general ornament, and a strip of paper, bearing merely 
the words : " I wish these to be given to Mrs Prender- 
gast.— M. W " 

But now it assumed a more puzzling importance and 
deeper interest. Had Wilmot found anything among all 
her orderly possessions which had thrown anynew light upon 
her life ? Had he had a misunderstanding with Dr "Whit- 
taker ? Did he think his wife's life had been sacrificed by 
want of care, or want of attention or of skill ? Had remorse 
seized him on this account, when he had succeeded in 
defeating its attacks, in consequence of the revelation which 
she had made to him ? . Had he regained incredulity or 
indifference as regarded the years which had passed in mis- 
comprehension, to be roused into inquietude and stern 
self-reproach by an appeal to his master-passion, his pro- 
fessional knowledge and attainments ? If this were so, 
there would at least be some measure of punishment 
allotted to Chudleigh Wilmot ; for he was a proud man, 
and sensitive on that point, if not on any other. 

Henrietta Prendergast was well disposed towards Wil- 
mot now, in the new aspect of affairs, and contemplating as 
she did certain dim future possibilities very grateful to her 
pertinacious disposition. But she was not • sorry to think 


that he had something to suffer ; and that something of a 
nature to oppress his spirits considerably, and render him 
indifferent to the attractions of society. Before this 
desirable effect should have worn off, she would have con- 
trived to make herself necessary to him. She had but 
little doubt of her power to accomplish this, if only the 
opportunity were afforded her. She knew she had plenty 
of ability, not of a kind which Wilmot would dislike, and 
certainly of a quality for which he did not give her credit. 
She had less attraction than Mabel, so far as good looks 
would go, but that would not be very far, she thought, with 
Dr Wilmot. He might never care for her even so much as 
he had cared for Mabel ; but his feelings towards her,, if 
evoked at all, would be different, much more satisfactory, 
and to her mind, which was properly organized, quite 

If Henrietta's day-dreams were of a more sober colour, 
they were no less unreal than the rosiest and most extrava- 
gant vision ever woven by youthful fancy. She had not 
seen Madeleine Kilsyth. She had indeed understood and 
witnessed Mabel's jealousy, aroused by the devotion of her 
husband to the young Scotch girl. But she thought little 
of danger from this quarter. She had always understood 
— having a larger intellect and a wider perception, and 
above all, being an unconcerned spectator, uninjured by it 
in her affections or her rights — "Wilmot's absorption in his 
profession much better than his wife had understood it. 
Something in her own nature, dim and undeveloped, 
answered to this absorption. 

" If I had had any pursuit in life, I should have followed 
it just as eagerly ; if I had had a career, I should have 
devoted myself to it just as entirely," had been her frequent 
mental comment upon Wilmot's conduct. She quite under- 
stood the effect it produced on a woman of Mabel's tem- 
perament, was perfectly convinced that it could not produce 


a similar effect on a woman of her own ; but also believed 
that no such cod duct would ever have been pursued to- 
wards her. The very something which enabled her to 
sympathize with him would have secured her from exclusion 
from the reality and the meaning of his life. " At least I 
should interest him," she had often said to herself, when 
she had seen how entirely Mabel failed to inspire him with 
interest ; and in her lengthened cogitations on the evening 
of the day which had been marked by Wilmot's visit, she 
repeated the assurance with renewed conviction. 

It was not that the remembrance of Miss Kilsyth did 
not occur to her very strongly* on the contrary, it occupied 
its full share of her mind and attention. But she disposed 
of the subject very comfortably and finally by dwelling on 
the following points : 

Birst, the distinction of rank and the difference in age 
between Miss Kilsyth and Dr Wilmot were both consider- 
able, important, and likely to form very efficient barriers 
against any extravagant notions on his part. Supposing — 
an unlikely supposition in the case of a man who added 
remarkable good sense to exceptional talent — he were to 
overlook this distinction of rank and difference of age, it 
was not probable that the young lady's relatives would 
accommodate themselves to any such blindness ; while it 
was extremely probable they would regard any project on 
his part with respect to her as unmitigated presumption. 

So far she had pursued her cogitations without regard 
to the young girl herself — to this brilliant young beauty, 
upon Avhom, endowed with youth, beauty, rank, the prestige 
of one of the most fashionable and popular women in Lon- 
don (for Henrietta Prendergast had her relations with the 
great world, though she was not of it), life was just open- 
ing in the fulness of joy and splendour. But when she 
turned her attention in that direction, she found nothing to 
discourage her, nothing to fear. "What could be more 



wildly improbable than that Chudleigh "Wilmot should have 
made any impression on Miss Kilsyth of a nature to lead 
to the realization of any hope which might suggest itself to 
the new-made widower? Henrietta Prendergast was not 
a woman of much delicacy of min d or refinement of senti- 
ment — if she had been, such self- communing as that of this 
evening would have been impossible within three weeks of 
her friend's death — but she was not so coarse, or indeed 
so ignorant of the nature and training of women like 
Madeleine Kilsyth, as to conceive the possibility of the 
girl's having fallen in love with a married man, even had 
that married man been of a far more captivating type than 
that presented by Chudleigh "Wilmot. Madeleine's step- 
mother had not been restrained from such a suspicion by 
any superfluous delicacy ; but Lady Muriel had an incen- 
tive to clear-sightedness which was wanting in Henrietta's 
case ; and it must be said in justification of the acute 
woman of the world, that she was satisfied of the girl's 
perfect unconsciousness of the real nature of the sentiment 
which her jealous quick-sightedness had detected almost in 
the first hours of its existence. 

The disqualification of his marriage removed, Henrietta 
still thought there could be nothing to dread. The remin- 
iscences attached to the doctor who had attended her 
through a long illness, was said to have saved her life and 
had made himself very agreeable to his patient, were no 
doubt frankly kind and grateful ; but they were very nn« 
likely to be sentimental, and the opportunities which might 
come in Iris way for rendering the tie already established 
stronger would be probably limited. " If anything were 
to be feared in that quarter," thought Henrietta, " and one 
could only manage to get a hint conveyed to Lady Muriel, 
the thing would be done at once." 

Henrietta pronounced this opinion in her own mind 
with perfect confidence. And she was right. If Lady 


Muriel Kilsyth had had no more interest in Wilmot than 
that which during his sojourn at Kilsyth ho might have in- 
spired in the least important inmate of the house, she 
-would have acted precisely as she had done. This was her 
strong tower of defence, her excuse, her justification. If 
Wilmot's admiration of her step-daughter had not had in it 
the least element of offence to herself, she would at once 
have opposed it, have endeavoured to prevent its growth 
and manifestation, just as assiduously as she had done. 
Herein was her safety. So, though Henrietta Prendergast 
was entirely unaware of anything that had taken place ; 
though she had never spoken to Lady Muriel in her life, 
she had, as it happened, speculated upon her quite correctly. 
So her self-conference came to a close, without any mis- 
giving, discouragement, or hesitation. 

" Mabel knew some people who knew the Kilsyths," 
Henrietta Prendergast had said to Wilmot in their first in- 
terview ; but she had not mentioned that the people who 
knew the Kilsyths were acquaintances of hers, and that she 
had been present on the occasion when Mabel had acquired 
all the information which she had taken to heart so keenly. 
Such was, however, the case; and Henrietta made up her 
mind, when she had reasoned herself out of the first feeling 
of discouragement which her interview with "Wilmot had 
caused, though not out of the conviction that there was 
something in his mind which she had not been able to come 
at, that she would call on Mrs and Miss Charlwood without 
delay. She might not learn anything about Wilmot by so 
doing, but she could easily introduce the Kilsyths into the 
conversation ; and it could not fail to be useful to her to 
gain a clear insight into what sort of people they were, and 
especially to know whether Miss Kilsyth had any declared 
or supposed admirers as yet. So she went to bed that night 
with her mind tolerably easy on the whole, though her last 
waking thought was of the strange something in Chudleigh 



"Wilmot's manner which she had not been able to penetrate. 

It chanced, however, that Mrs Prendergast did not fulfil 
her intention so soon as she had purposed. On waking the 
following morning, she found that she had taken cold, a 
rather severe cold. She was habitually careful of her 
health, and as the business on which she had intended to 
go out was not pressing, she thought it wiser to remain at 
home. The next day she was no better ; the day after a 
little worse. On the fourth day she thought she should be 
justified in asking Wilmot to give her a call. On the very 
rare occasions when she had required medical attendance 
she had had recourse to her friend's husband ; and it oc- 
curred to her that the present opportunity was favourable 
for impressing him with a sense that she desired to main- 
tain the former relation unbroken. To increase and in- 
tensify it would be her business later. 

So Mrs Prendergast sent for Dr "Wilmot ; but in answer 
to the summons Dr Whittaker presented himself. 

They had not met since they had stood together by 
Mabel's death-bed, and the recollection softened Henrietta, 
though she felt at once surprised and angry at the substitu- 

" I am doing "Wilmot's work, except in the very particu- 
lar cases," Dr "Whittaker explained. 

" Indeed ! Then Dr Wilmot knew, in some strange way, 
that mine was not a particular case !" Henrietta answered, 
with an exhibition of pique as unusual in her as it was un- 
flattering to Dr Whittaker. 

"My dear Mrs Prendergast," expostulated the doctor 
mildly, " your note— I saw it in the regular way of business 
—said ' merely a cold ; ' and Wilmot and I both know you 
always say what you mean — no more and no less." 

Henrietta smiled rather grimly as she replied " I must 
say, you are adroit in turning a slight into a compliment. 
And now we will talk about my cold." 


They did talk about her cold, and Dr Whittaker duly 
prescribed for it, emphatically forbidding exposure to the 
•weather. Just as he rose to take leave, Henrietta asked 
him what sort of spirits Wilmot appeared to be in. 

" Very low indeed," said Dr Whittaker; "but I think 
the change of air will do him good." 

The change was likely to be sufficiently profitable to Dr 
"Whittaker to make it only natural that he should regard it 
with warm approbation, without reflecting very severely upon 
his sincerity either ; he was but human, and not particularly 

"What change ?" asked Henrietta in a tone which had 
not all the indifference which she had desired to lend it. 
(Dr Whittaker had seen and guessed enough to make it just 
that he should not look for much warmth from Mabel's friend 
in speaking of Mabel's husband ; and Mrs Prendergast never 
overlooked the relative positions in any situation.) 

" What ! don't you know, then ? He is going abroad — 
going to Paris, and then to Berlin, partly to recruit, and 
partly to inquire into some new theory about fever they've 
got there. I don't generally think much of their theories 
myself, especially in Berlin." 

But Dr Whittaker' s opinions had no interest for Henri- 
etta. His news occupied her. She did not altogether like 
this move. She did not believe in either of the reasons as- 
signed ; she felt certain there was something behind them 
both, and that that something had been in Wilmot's mind 
when she last saw him. What was it ? Was he flying from 
a memory or a presence ? If the former, then something 
more than she was in possession of had come to his know- 
ledge concerning Mabel ; for much as he had been shocked, 
and intensely as he had felt all she had told him, Henrietta 
knew Wilmot too well to believe for a moment that the pre- 
sent 1 resolution was to be traced to that source. If the lat- 
ter, the presence must be that of Miss Kilsyth ; and there 

b 2 


must be dangers in her way, complications in this matter 
she did not understand, some grave error in her calculation. 
True, he might be flying away in despair ; but that could 
hardly be. In so short an interval of time it was impossible 
he could have dared or even tried his fate. It was the un- 
expectedness of this occurrence that gave it so much power 
to trouble Henrietta. She had made a careful calculation ; 
but this was outside it, and it "puzzled her. She took leave 
of Dr Whittaker, while these and many more equally dis- 
tracting thoughts passed through her mind, in a sufficiently 
absent manner, and listened to his expression of a sanguine 
hope of finding her much better on the morrow through a 
sedulous observance of his advice, with as much indifference 
as though he had been talking about somebody else's cold. 
When he had left her, she sat still for a while ; then put on 
her warmest attire, sent for a cab, and, utterly regardless of 
Dr "Whittaker's prohibition, drove straight to Mrs Charlton's 
house in South-street, Park-lane. 

Mrs Prendergast's cab drew up behind a carriage which 
had just stopped before Mrs Charlton's door, at that moment 
opened in reply to the defiant summons of the footman, who 
was none other than one of the ambrosial Mercuries in at- 
tendance on Lady Muriel Kilsyth. An elderly lady, rather 
oddly dressed, descended from the equipage, bestowed a 
familiar nod upon its remaining occupaut from the steps, 
and walked into the house. Mrs Prendergast was then ad- 
mitted ; and as the carriage which made way for her was 
displaced, she recognized in the face of the lady who sat in it 
Lady Muriel Kilsyth. 

"That is very odd," she thought; "I wonder who she 
has set down here, and why she has not come in herself." 

Immediately afterwards she was exchanging the custom- 
ary fadeurs with Mrs Charlton, and had been presented by 
that lady to Mrs M'Diarmid. 

"Wonderfully voluble was Mrs M'Diarmid, to be sure, and 


communicative to a degree which, if her audience did not 
happen to be vehemently interested in the matter of her dis- 
course, must have been occasionally a little overpowering 
and wearisome. Mrs M'Diarmid, being at present staying 
with the Kilsyths, could not talk of anything but the Kil- 
syths ; a state of things rather distressing to Mrs Charlton, 
who was an eminently well-bred person, and perfectly aware 
that Mrs Prendergast was not acquainted with the people 
under discussion. But to arrest Mrs M'Diarmid in the full 
tide of her discourse was a feat which a few adventurous 
spirits had indeed attempted, but in which no one had ever 
succeeded. Mrs Charlton's was not an adventurous spirit ; 
she merely suffered, and was not strong, but derived sensible 
consolation after a while from observing that Mrs Prender- 
gast either had the tact and the manners to assume an aspect 
of perfect contentment, or really did feel an interest in the 
affairs of strangers, which to her, Mrs Charlton, was inexpli- 
cable. She had much regard for Henrietta, and considerable 
respect for her intellect ; so she preferred the former hypo- 
thesis, and adopted it. 

" And she told me to tell you how sorry she was she 
could not possibly come in to-day; but she had to fetch 
Kilsyth at his club, and then go home and dress for a ride 
with him, and send the carriage for me. I must run away 
the moment it comes, and get back to Maddy.' ' This, after 
Mrs M'Diarmid had run on uninterruptedly for about a 
quarter of an hour, with details of every kind concerning the 
house and the servants, the health, spirits, employments, 
and engagements of the family. 

" Miss Kilsyth is still delicate, I think you said ?" Mrs 
Charlton at length contrived to say. 

" Yes, indeed, very delicate. My dear, the child mopes 
— she really mopes ; and I can't bear to see young people 
moping, though it seems the fashion nowadays for all the 
young people to think themselves not only wiser but sadder 



than their elders. Just to see Eonald beside his father, my 
dear! The difference! And to think he'll be Kilsyth of 
Kilsyth some day ; and what will the poor people do then ? 
He'll make them go to school, and have 'em drilled, I'm sure 
he will ; not that he is not a fine young man, my dear, and 
a good one — we must all admit that ; but he is not like his 
father, and never will be — never. And, for my part, I don't 
wonder Maddy's afraid of him, for I'm sure I am." 

" But I thought Miss Kilsyth and her brother were so 
particularly attached to each other," said Mrs Charlton, 
yielding at length to the temptation to gossip. 

" So they are, so they are. — I'm sure, Mrs Prendergast," 
said Mrs M'Diarmid, turning to Henrietta, " a better brother 
than Eonald Kilsyth never lived j but then he is dictatorial, 
I must say that ; and he never will believe or remember that 
Madeleine is not a child now, and that it is absurd and use- 
less to treat a woman just as one would treat a child. He 
makes such a fuss about every one Maddy sees, and every- 
where she goes to, and is positively disagreeable about any 
one she seems to fancy." 

"Well," said Mrs Charlton, "but I'm not sure that he 
is wrong to be particular about his sister's fancies. The 
fancies of a young lady of Miss Kilsyth's beauty and pre- 
tensions are not trifling matters. Has she any very strongly 
pronounced ? " 

" Bless your heart, no ! " exclaimed Mrs M'Diarmid, her 
vulgarity evoked by her earnestness. " The girl is fonder of 
himself and her father than of any one in the world, and I 
really don't think she ever had a thought hid from them. 
But Eonald will interfere so ; he bothered about the silliness 
of young ladies' correspondence until he worried her into 
giving up writing to Bessy Eavenshaw ; and he lectured for 
ten minutes because she wrote to poor Dr "Wilmot on her 
own account." 

" How very absurd ! " said Mrs Charlton ; " he had bet- 


ter take care he does not worry her by excess of brotherly 
love and authority into finding her home so unbearable, that 
Bhe may make a wretched hurried marriage in order to get 
away from it. Such things have been ; " and Mrs Charlton 
sighed, as if she spoke from some close experience of " such 

" Very true, very true — I am sure I often wish the poor 
dear child was well married. I must say for Lady Muriel, I 
think she is an admirable step-mother. It is such a difficult 
position, Mrs Prendergast, so invidious ; still, you know, it 
never can be exactly the same thing ; and then, you know, 
there are the little girls to grow up, and there will be the 
natural jealousy — about Maddy's fortune, you know; and 
altogether I do think it would be very nice." 

" I should think a good many others think it would be 
very nice also," said Mrs Charlton. 

" "Well, I don't know — it is hard to say — young men are 
so different now-a-days from what they were in my time ; 
they seem to be afraid of marrying. I really don't think 
Maddy has ever had an offer." 

" Depend on it that story will soon be changed. She is, 
to my knowledge, immensely admired. Her illness made 
quite a sensation, and the romantic story of the famous Dr 
"Wilmot's devotion to the patient." 

" I think you should say to the case," struck in Henrietta. 
" I know Dr Wilmot very well, and I can fancy any amount 
of devotion to the fever and its cure ; but Wilmot devoted to 
a patient I cannot understand." 

Something in her voice and manner conveyed an un- 
pleasant impression to both her hearers. Mrs Charlton 
looked calmly surprised ; Mrs M'Diarmid looked distressed 
and rather angry. She wished she had been more cautious 
in telling of the Kilsyths before this lady, who did not know 
them, but who did know Dr "Wilmot. She felt that Mrs 
Prendergast had put a meaning into what Mrs Charlton had 


said, in which there was something at least indirectly slight- 
ing and derogatory to Madeleine ; and the feeling made her 
hot and angry. Mrs Charlton's suavity extricated them 
from the difficulty, which all felt, and one intended. 

"I didn't quite understand the distinction," she said; 
" of course I understand it as you put it, but mine was 
merely a/agon de parler. Dr "Wilmot's devotion to his pro- 
fession has long been known, and he has succeeded as such 
devotion deserves." 

" Yes, indeed, Mrs Charlton," said Henrietta heartily, 
and slipping with infinite ease into the peculiar manner 
which implies such intimacy with the person complimented 
as to make the praise almost a personal favour. " He has 
paid dearly indeed for his devotion, in the very instance you 
mention, Mrs M'Diarmid." 

" How so ? " said Mrs M'Diarmid, off her guard, and 
rather huffily. 

" Ah, poor fellow ! I can hardly bear to talk of it ; but as 
I was his poor wife's closest friend, and with her when she 
died, I think it is only fair and just to him to tell the truth. 
Of course he had no notion of his wife's danger — no one 
could have had ; but he never can or will forgive himself for 
his absence from her. Tou will not wonder that he should 
feel it dreadfully, and that his self-reproach is intolerable. 
' I suppose,' he said, in one of his worst fits of grief, ' people 
will think I stayed at Kilsyth because Kilsyth is a great 
man ; but you, Henrietta, you know me better. If she had 
been his dairymaid, instead of his daughter, it would have 
been all one to me.' And that was perfectly true ; he knows 
no distinction in the pursuit of his duties. It was a terrible 
coincidence; but nothing can perstiade him to regard it 
merely as a coincidence. It is fortunate your young friend 
is restored to health, Mrs M'Diarmid." 

" Yes," said that lady, now pale, and looking the image 
of disconcerted distress. 


" Fortunate for her, of course ; but also fortunate for 
him. You will excuse my telling you, of course ; nothing in 
the whole matter reflects in the least on the Kilsyth family 
— and I cannot forbear from saying what must exalt him 
still more in your esteem, but you cannot conceive how 
painful to him any reference to that fatal time is. He has 
wonderful self-control and firmness ; but they were severely 
taxed, I assure you, when he had to make a call on Lady 
Muriel and Miss Kilsyth. I daresay he didn't show it." 

" Not in the least," said Mrs M'Diarmid. 
Oh no ; he is essentially a strong man. But he suf- 
fered. You would know how much, if you had seen him 
when he had finally made up his mind to go abroad, and get 
out of the remembrance of it all, so far as he could. Poor 
Miss Kilsyth ! one pities a young girl to have been even the 
perfectly innocent cause of such a calamity to any man, and 
especially to one who rendered her such a service. However, 
people who talk about it now will have forgotten it all long 
before he comes back." 

At this juncture Miss Charlton entered the room and 
warmly greeted Henrietta. Mrs Prendergast was an au- 
thority in the art of illuminating, to which Miss Charlton 
devoted her harmless life. 

Presently Lady Muriel's carriage came for Mrs M'Diar- 
mid, and that good woman went away, and might have been 
heard to say many times during the silent drive : 

" My poor Maddy ! my poor dear child ! " 

Chudleigh Wilmot had entertained, it has been seen, 
vague fears that Mrs Prendergast might talk about him ; 
but of all possible shapes they had never taken this one. 



It has been said that Mrs M'Diarmid took an earnest 
motherly interest in Madeleine Kilsyth; hut the hare 
statement is by no means sufficient to explain the real feel- 
ings entertained towards the somewhat forlorn motherless 
girl by the brisk, energetic, vulgar little woman of the world, 
who was her connection by marriage. Such affections 
spring up in many female breasts which, to all outward ap- 
pearance, are most unpromising soil ; they need no cultiva- 
tion, no looking after, no watering with the tears of sym- 
pathy or gratitude, no raking or hoeing or binding up. 
They are ruthlessly lopped off in their tenderest shoots ; 
but they grow again, and twine away round the " object " 
as parasitically as ever. Mrs M'Diarmid's regard for Made- 
leine was quite of the parasitical type in its best sense, be 
it always understood. She loved the young girl with all 
her heart and soul, and would as soon have dreamed of in- 
spiring as of " carneying " her, as she expressed it. Her 
love for Madeleine was pure and simple and unaffected, 
deep-seated and capable of producing great results ; but it 
was of the "poor-dear" school after all. 

Nothing, for instance, could persuade Mrs M'Diarmid 
that Madeleine was not very much to be pitied in every act 
and circumstance of her life.. The fact of having a step- 
mother was in itself a burden sufficient to break the spirit 
of any ordinarily-constituted young woman, according to 
Mrs Mac's idea. Not but that Mrs Mac and Lady Muriel 
" got on very well together," according to the former lady's 
phraseology ; not but that Lady M. (whom she was usually 
accustomed to speak of when extra emphasis was required, 
as Lady Hem) did her duty by Madeleine perfectly and 

A COUP MANQtrfe. 251 

thoroughly ; but still, as Mrs Mac would confess, " she was 
not one of them ; she was of a different family ; and what 
could you expect out of your own blood and bone ? " 
" One of them " meant of the Kilsyth family, of which Mrs 
M'Diarmid, to a certain portion of her acquaintance, de- 
scribed herself as a component part. In the late summer 
and the early autumn, when the Kilsyths and all their 
friends had left town, dear old Mrs M'Diarmid would revel 
in the light with which, though her suns of fashion had set, 
her horizon was still illumined. When the grandees of-Bel- 
gravia and Tyburnia have sped northward in the long pre- 
engaged seat of the limited mail ; when they are coasting 
round the ever-verdant Island, or lounging in all the glory 
of pseudo-naval get-up on the pier at Eyde, there is yet 
corn in Egypt, balm in Q-ilead, and fine weather in the 
suburbs of London. Many of Mrs M'Diarmid's acquaint- 
ance, formed in the earlier and ante-married portion of her 
life, were found in London during those months. Some 
had been away to Eamsgate and Margate with their chil- 
dren in June ; others, unable to " get away from business," 
had compromised the matter with their wives by taking a 
cottage at Eichmond or Staines, and running backwards 
and forwards from town for a month, and staying at home 
on the Saturday. To these worthy people Mrs M'Diarmid 
was the connecting link between them aud that fashionable 
world, of whose doings they read so religiously every Satur- 
day in the fashionable journal. For her news, her talk, her 
appearance, they loved this old lady, and paid her the great- 
est court. From some of them she received brevet rank, and 
was spoken of as the Honourable Mrs M'Diarmid ; from all 
she received kindness and — what she never gave herself — 
toadyism. Pleasant dinners at the furnished cottages at 
Eichmond and Staines, Star-and-Garter refections, picnics 
on the river ; what was even more delicious, a croquet-party 
on the lawn, tea, and an early supper, with some singing 


afterwards — all these delights were provided by her ac- 
quaintances for Mrs M'Diarmid, who had nothing to do 
but to sit still, and be taken about ; to recall a few of the 
scenes of her past season's gaiety ; to drop occasionally the 
names of a few of her grand acquaintance, and to hare it 
thoroughly understood that she was " one of them." 

Use is second nature ; and by dint of perpetually re- 
peating that she was " one of them," Mrs M'Diarmid had 
almost begun to forget the lodging-house and its associa- 
tions, and to believe that she was a blood-relation of the 
old house of Kilsyth. It did the old lady no harm, this in- 
nocent self-deception, it did not render her insolent, arro- 
gant, or stuck-up ; it did not for an instant tend to render 
her forgetful of her position in the household, and it did 
perhaps increase the fond maternal affection which she en- 
tertained for Madeleine. How could Lady Muriel feel for 
that girl like one of her own blood ? Besides, had she not 
now children of her own, about whose future she was 
naturally anxious, and whose future might clash with that 
of her step-daughter ? "Whose future ? Ay, it was about 
Madeleine's future that she was so anxious ; and just about 
this stage in our history Mrs M'Diarmid, revolving all 
these things in her mind, set herself seriously to consider 
what Madeleine's future should be. 

To a woman of Mrs M'Diarmid's stamp the future of a 
young girl, it is almost needless to say, meant her marriage. 
Notwithstanding all the shams which, to use Mr Carlyle's 
phrases, have been exploded, all the Babeldoms which have 
been talked out, all the mockeries, delusions, and snares 
which have been exposed, it yet remains that marriage 
is the be-all and end-all of the British maiden's existence. 
That accomplished, life shuts up, or is of no account, with 
the orange-flowers and the tinkling bells, the ring, the oath, 
and the blessing; all that childhood has played at, and 
maidenhood has dreamed of, is at an end. The husband is 


secured ; and so long as ho is in the requisite position and 
possesses the requisite means — vogue la galere, in its most 
respectable translation, be it understood — all that is re- 
quisite on friends' part has been done. We laugh when we 
hear that a charwoman offers to produce her " marriage- 
lines " in proof of her respectability ; but we slur over the 
fact that in our own social status we are content to aim at 
the dignity achieved by the charwoman's certificate, and 
not to look beyond into the future thereby opened 

Madeleine's marriage ? Yes ; Mrs M'Diarmid had 
turned that subject over in her mind a hundred thousand 
times ; had chewed the cud of it until all taste therein had 
been exhausted ; had had all sorts of preposterous visions 
connected therewith, none of which had the smallest waking 
foundation. Madeleine's marriage? It was by her own 
marriage that Mrs M'Diarmid had made her one grand coup 
in life, and consequently she attached the greatest value to 
it. She was always picturing to herself Madeleine married 
to each or one of the different visitors in Brook-street ; 
seeing her walking up the aisle with one, standing at the 
altar-rails with another, muttering "I will" to a third, and 
shyly looking up after signing the register with a fourth. 
The old lady had the good sense to keep these mental pic- 
tures in her own mental portfolio, but still she was per- 
petually drawing them forth for her own mental delecta- 
tion. None of the young men who were in the habit of 
dropping in in Brook-street for a cup of afternoon tea and 
a social chat had any notion of the wondrous scenes pass- 
ing through the brain of the quiet elderly lady, whom they 
all liked and all laughed at. None of them knew that in 
Mrs Mac's mind's eye, as they sat there placidly sipping 
their tea and talking their nonsense, they were transfigured ; 
that their ordinary raiment was changed into the blue coat 
and yellow waistcoat dear to this valentine artist ; that from 
their coat-collar grew the attenuated spire of a village 


church, and that sounds of chiming bells drowned their 
voices. Madeleine as a countess presented at a drawing- 
room "on her marriage;" Madeleine receiving a brilliant 
circle as the wife of a brilliant member of the House of 
Commons ; Madeleine doing the honours of the British 
embassy at the best and most distinguished legation which 
happened at the time to be vacant. All these pictures had 
presented themselves to Mrs M'Diarmid, and been filled 
up by her mentally in outline and detail. Other supple- 
mentary pictures were there in the same gallery. Madeleine 
presenting new colours to the gallant 140th as the wife of 
their colonel ; Madeleine landing from the Amphitrite, 
amidst the cheers of her crew, as the wife of their admiral ; 
Madeleine graciously receiving the million pounds' worth 
of pearls and diamonds which the native Indian princes of- 
fered to the wife of their governor-general. All these dif- 
ferent shiftings of the glasses of the magic lantern appeared 
to Mrs M'Diarmid as she noticed the attention paid to 
Madeleine by the different visitors in Brook- street. 

But these, after all, were mere day-dreams, and it was 
lime Mrs M'Diarmid thought that some real and satisfactory 
match should be arranged for her dear child. Since the 
return of the family from Scotland, after Madeleine's illness, 
Mrs M'Diarmid either had noticed, or fancied she had 
noticed, that Lady Muriel was less interested in her step- 
daughter than ever, more inclined to let her have her own 
way, less particular as to who sought her society. Under 
these circumstances, not merely did Mrs M'Diarmid's dragon 
watchfulness increase tenfold, but the necessity of speedily 
taking her darling into a different atmosphere, and surround- 
ing her with other cares and hopes in life, made itself doubly 
apparent. For hours and hours the old lady sat in her own 
little room, cosy little room,— neat, tidy, clean, and whole- 
some-looking as the old lady herself, — revolving different 
matrimonial schemes in her mind, guessing at incomes 

A COUP MANQtri;. 255 

weighing dispositions, thinking over the traits and character- 
istics, the health and position of every marriageable man of 
her acquaintance. And all to no purpose ; for the old lady, 
though a tolerably shrewd and worldly-wise old lady, was a 
good woman : in the early days of the lodging-house she had 
had a spirit of religion properly instilled into her ; and this, 
aided by her genuine and unselfish love for Madeleine, would 
have prevented her from wishing to see the girl married to 
any one, no matter what were his wealth, position, and 
general eligibility, unless there was the prospect of her dar- 
ling's life being a bappy one with him. " I don't see my way 
clear, my dear," she would say to Mrs Tonkley, the most 
intimate of her early life acquaintances, and the only one 
whom the old lady admitted into her confidence (Mrs Tonk- 
ley had been Sarah Simmons, daughter of Simmons's private 
hotel, and had married Tonkley, London representative of 
Blades and Buckhorn of Sheffield), — " I don't see my way 
clear in this business, my dear, and that's the truth. Powers 
forbid my Madeleine should marry an old man, though 
among our people it's considered to be about the best thing 
that could happen to a girl, provided he's old enough, and 
rich into the bargain. "Why, there are old fellows, tottering 
old wretches, that crawl about with mineral teeth in their 
mouths and other people's hair on their heads, and they'd 
only have to say, ' Will you ? " to some of the prettiest and 
the best-born girls in England, and they'd get the answer 
' Yes ' directly minute ! No, no ; I've seen too much of 
that. Not to name names, there's one old fellow, a lord and 
a general, all stars and garters and crosses and ribbons, and 
two seasons ago he carried off a lovely girl. I won't put a 
name to her, my dear, but you've seen her photographic 
likeness in the portrait-shops ; and what is it now? Divorced? 
Lord, no, my dear ; that sort of thing's never done amongst 
us, nor even separation, so far as the world knows. Oh no ; 
they live very happily together, to all outward show, and she 


has her opera-box, and jewels as much as she can wear ; but, 
Lor' bless you, I hear what the young fellows say who come 
to our house about the way she goes on, and the men who 
are always about her, and who was meant by the stars and 
blanks in last week's Dustman. JSTo, no ; no old wretch for 
Madeleine ; nor any of your fast boys either, with their 
drags and their yachts, and their hunters and their Market 
Harboroughs, and their Queen's Benches, I tell 'em ; for 
that's what it'll come to. You can't build a house of paper, 
specially of stamped paper, to last very long; and though 
you touch it up every three months or so, at about the end 
of a year down it goes with a run, and you and your wife 
and the lot of you go with it ! That would be a pleasant 
ending for my child, to have to live at Bolong on what her 
husband got by winning at cards from the foreigners ; and 
that's not likely to be much, I should think. No; that 
would never do. I declare to you, my dear Sarah, when I 
think about that dear girl's future, I am that driven as to 
be at my wits' end." 

There was another reason for the old lady's feeling 
"driven" when thinking over her dear girl's future which 
she never imparted to her dear Sarah, nor indeed to any one 
else, but which she crooned over constantly, and relished 
less and less after each spell of consideration, and that was 
the evident intention of Lady Muriel with regard to Bamsay 
Oaird. Mrs M'Diarmid, though a woman of strong feelings, 
rarely, if ever, took antipathies ; but certainly her strong 
aversion to Bamsay Caird could be called by no other name. 
She hated him cordially, and took very little pains to conceal 
her dislike, though, if she had been called upon, she would 
have found it difficult to define the reasons for her prejudice. 
It was probably the obvious purpose for which he had been 
introduced into the family, which the old lady immediately 
divined and as immediately execrated, that made her his 
enemy ; but she could not put forward this reason, and she 


had no other to offer. Sho used to say to herself that lie 
was a " down-looking fellow," which was metaphorical, inas- 
much as Ramsay Caird had rather a frank and free expres- 
sion, though, to one more versed in physiognomy than Mrs 
M'Diarmid, there certainly was a shifty expression in his 
eyes. She hated to see him paying attention to Madeleine, 
bending over her, hovering near her — in her self-communion 
the old lady declared that it gave her "the creeps" — and it 
was with great difficulty that she refrained when present 
from actually shuddering. It was lucky that she did so 
refrain ; for Lady Muriel, who brooked no interference with 
her plans, would have ruthlessly given Mrs Mae her conge, 
and closed the doors of Brook-street against her for ever. 

To find some one so eligible that Kilsyth would take a 
fancy to him — a fancy which Lady Muriel could not, in 
common honesty, combat — and thus to get rid of Ramsay 
Caird and his pretensions to Madeleine's hand, — this was 
Mrs M'Diarmid's great object in life. But she had -pottered 
hopelessly about it ; and it is probable that she would never 
have succeeded in getting the smallest clue to what, if pro- 
perly carried through, might really have led to the accom- 
plishment of her hopes, had it not been for her own kindness 
of heart, which led her to spend many of her leisure half- 
hours in the nursery with Lady Muriel's little girls. Sitting 
one day with these little ladies, but in truth not attending 
much to their prattle, being occupied in her favourite day- 
dream, Mrs M'Diarmid was startled by hearing an observa- 
tion which at once interested her, and caused her to attend 
to the little ladies' conversation. 

" When you grow up, Maud, will you be like Maddy ? " 
asked little Ethel. 

"I don't know," replied her sister. " I think I shall bo 
quite as pretty as Maddy ; and I'm sure I sha'n't be half so 

" You don't know that ! People are only dull because 


they can't help it. They're not dull on purpose ; only be- 
cause they can't help it." 

"Well, then, I shall help it," said Maud in an imperious 
way. " Besides, it's not always that Maddy's dull ; she's 
only dull since we've been back in London ; she wasn't dull 
at Kilsyth." 

" Ah, no one was dull at Kilsyth," said little Ethel with 
a sigh. 

" Oh, we all know what you mean by that, Ethel," said 
Maud. "You silly sentimental child, you were happy at 
Kilsyth because you had some one with you." 

" Weft, it's no use talking to you, Maud ; because you're 
a dreadful flirt, and care for no one in particular, and like to 
have a heap of men always round you. But wasn't Made- 
leine happy at Kilsyth because she had some one with her ? " 
" Why, you don't mean that Lord Boderick ? " 
"Lord Boderick, indeed! I should think not," said 
little Ethel, flushing scarlet. " Madeleine's ' some one ' was 
much older and graver and wiser and sterner, and nothing 
like so good-looking." 

" Ethel dear, you talk like a child ! " said Maud, who, by 
virtue of her twelvemonth's seniority, gave herself quite 
maternal airs towards her sister. " Of course I see you're 
alluding to Dr Wilmot ; but you can't imagine that Maddy 
cared for him in any way but that of a — a friend who was 
grateful to him — for — " 

" Oh yes ! ' Tour grateful patient,' we know ! Maddy 
did not know how to end her note to him the other morning, 
and I kept suggesting all kinds of things : ' yours lovingly,' 
and ' yours eternally,' and ' your own devoted ; ' and made 
Madge blush awfully ; and at last she put that. ' Grateful 
patient ' ! grateful rubbish ! Tou hadn't half such oppor- 
tunities as I had of seeing them together at Kilsyth, Maud." 
"I'm not half so romantic and sentimental, Ethel; and 
I can see a doctor talking to a girl about her illness without 


fancying he's madly in lovo with her. And now I am going 
to my music." And Maud pranced out of the room. 

Aud then Mrs M'Diarmid, who had greedily swallowed 
every word of this conversation between the children, laid 
down the book over which she had been nodding ; and going 
up to little Ethel, gave herself over to the task of learning from 
the child her impressions of the state of Madeleine's feelings 
towards Dr Wilmot, and of gleaning as much as she could of 
all that passed between them at Kilsyth ; the result being 
that little Ethel, who was, as her sister had said, sentiment- 
ally and romantically inclined, led her old friend to believe, 
first, that Madeleine was deeply attached to the doctor, and, 
secondly, that the doctor was inclined to respond promptly to 
the young lady's sentiments. 

That night Mrs M'Diarmid remained at home, for the 
purpose of " putting on her considering cap," as she phrased 
it, and steadily looking at the question of Madeleine's future 
in the new light now surrounding it. Like all other old ladies, 
she had a tendresse for the medical profession ; and though 
she had never met Dr Wilmot, she had often heard of him, 
and had taken great interest in his rise and progress. And 
this was the man who was to fulfil her expectations, and to 
prevent Madeleine's being sacrificed to a sordid or disagree- 
able match ? It really seemed like it. Dr Wilmot was in 
the prime of life, was highly thought of and esteemed by all 
who knew him, was essentially a man of mark in the world, 
and must be in the enjoyment of a very lucrative practice. 
Practice ? ay, that was rather awkward ! Kilsyth would not 
care much about having a son-in-law who was in practice, and 
at the beck and call of every hypochondriacal old woman ; and 
Lady Muriel would, Mrs Mac was certain, refuse to enter- 
tain such a notion. And yet Dr Wilmot was in every other 
respect so eligible ; it was a thousand pities ! Dr Wilmot ! 
Tes, there it was ; that " Doctor " would stick to him through 
life ; and he, from all she had heard of him, was just the man 

8 2 


to be proud of the title, and refuse to be addressed by any 
other. Unless, indeed, they could get him knighted ; that 
would be something indeed. Sir — Sir — whatever his name 
was — "Wilmot would sound very well ; and nobody need ever 
know that he had felt pulses and written prescriptions. 
That is, of course, if he retired from his profession, as he 
would do on his marriage into " our " family ; because if the 
unpleasantness with Lady Muriel and — but then how were 
they to live ? Dr Wilmot could not possibly have saved 
enough money to retire upon ; and though Madeleine had her 
own little fortune, neither Kilsyth nor Lady Muriel would 
feel inclined to accept for a son-in-law a penniless man, unless 
he had some old alliance with the family. The old lady was 
very much puzzled by all these thoughts. She sat for hour 
after hour revolving plans and projects in her head, without 
arriving at any definite result. The want of adequate fortune 
without continuing in practice — that was what worried Mrs 
M'Diarmid. She had already perfectly settled in her own 
mind that Madeleine and Wilmot adored each other. She 
had pictured them both at the altar, and settled upon the 
new dress to which she should treat herself on the occasion 
of their marriage — a nice brown moire. ; none of your cheap 
rubbish— a splendid silk, stiff as a board, that would stand up- 
right by itself, as one might say ; and she knew just the pew 
which she would be shown into. All the arrangements were 
completed in Mrs Mac's mind — all, with the exception of 
the income for the happy pair. 

How could that be managed ? What could be done ? 
Were there not appointments, government things, where peo- 
ple were very well paid, and which were always to be had, if 
asked for by people of influence ? Straightway the inde- 
fatigable old lady began questioning everybody able to give 
her information about consulships, secretaryships, and com- 
missionerships ; and received an amount of news that quite 
bewildered her. Two or three men in the Whitehall offices, 


ulio were in the habit of coming to Brook-street, iVoin whom 
she had endeavoured to glean information, amused themselves 
by telling her the wildest nonsense of the necessary qualifi- 
cations for such appointments ; so that the old lady was in 
despair, and almost at her wits' end, when she suddenly be- 
thought her of Mr Foljainbe. The very man ! Wealthy and 
childless, with the highest opinion of Wilmot, and with a 
great regard for Madeleine. Mrs Mae remembered hearing 
it said in Brook-street, long before Madeleine's illness, that 
Mr Foljainbe would in all probability leave his fortune to Dr 
AVilmot. And his fortune was a very large one — quite 
enough to keep up the dignity of a knight upon ; ■ though in- 
deed, as there would be no lack of money, Mrs Mae did not 
see why a baronetcy should not be substituted. Lady Wil- 
mot, and green-and-gold liveries, and hair-powder, of course ; 
that would be the very thing, if that dear old man would only 
settle it, and not care to live too long after he had settled it — 
his attacks of gout were dreadful now, she had heard Lady 
Muriel say — all would be well. Would it be possible to 
ascertain whether there was any real foundation for the 
gossip whether Mr Foljambe had really made Wilmot his 
heir ? Would it not be possible to give him such hints 
respecting his power of benefiting the future of two persons 
in whom he had the greatest interest as to settle him finally 
in his amiable determination ? Mrs M'Diarmid was a woman 
of impulse, and believed much in the expediency of " clinch- 
ing the nail,' ' and " striking the iron while it was hot," as she 
expressed it. " In such matters as these," she was accustomed 
to say, " nothing is ever done by third parties, or by writing ; 
if you want a thing done, go and see about it at once, and go 
and see about it yourself, Lord love you ! " Acting on which 
wise maxims, Mrs M'Diarmid determined to call in person 
upon Mr Foljambe, and then and there " have it out with 

At ten o'clock on the following morning, Mr Foljambe, 


seated at breakfast, was disturbed by a sharp rap at bis 
street-door. Mrs M'Diarmid was right in saying that the 
old gentleman's gout had been extra troublesome lately, and 
his temper had deteriorated in proportion to the sharpness 
and the frequency of the attacks. He had had some very 
sharp twinges the previous evening, and was in anything but 
a good temper ; and as the clanging knock resounded through 
the hall, and penetrated to the snug little room where the old 
gentleman, in a long shawl dressing-gown, such as were 
fashionable five-and-twenty years ago, but are now seldom 
seen out of farces, was dallying with his toast and glancing 
at the Times, he broke out into a very naughty exclamation. 
A thorough type of the old English gentleman of his class, 
Mr Eoljambe, as witness his well-bred hands and feet, — the 
former surrounded by long and beautifully white wristbands, 
one of the latter incased in the nattiest of morocco-leather 
slippers, though the other was in a large list shoe, — his high 
cross-barred muslin cravat, his carefully trimmed gray 
whiskers, and his polished head. * 

" Visitors' bell! " muttered the old gentleman to himself, 
after giving vent to the naughty exclamation. " What the 
deuce brings people calling here at this hour? Just ten! " 
with a glance at the clock. " Ton my word, it's too bad ; 
as though one were a doctor, or a dentist, and on view from 
now till five. "Who can it be ? Collector of some local 
charity, probably, or some one to ask if somebody else doesn't 
live here, and to be quite astonished and rather indignant 
when he find he's come to the wrong house." 

"Well, Sargeant," to the servant who had just entered, 
"what is it?" 

" Lady, sir, to speak with you," said Sargeant, grim and 
inflexible. He objected to women anywhere in general, but 
at that house in particular. Like his master, he passed for 
a misogynist ; but unlike his master, he was one. 

" A lady ! G-od bless my soul, what an extraordinary 


thing for a lady to como here to see me, and at this hour, 
Sargeant ! " 

The tone of Mr Foljambe's voice invited response ; but 
from Sargeant no response came. His master had uttered 
his sentiments, and there was nothing more to say. 

" Why don't you answer, man ? " said the old gentleman 
peevishly. " "What sort of a lady is she ? Young or old, 
■tall or short? "What do you think she has come about, 
Sargeant ? " 

" About middle 'ithe ; but 'ave her veil down. "Wouldn't 
give a message ; but wanted to speak to you partickler, sir." 

" Confounded fellow ! no getting anything out of him ! " 
muttered the old gentleman beneath his breath. Then 
aloud, " "Where is she ? " 

" I put the lady in the droring-room, sir ; but no fire, as 
the chimlies was swept this morning." 

" I know that ; I heard 'em, the scoundrels ! No fire ! 
the woman will be perished ! Here, bring me down a coat, 
and take this dressing-gown, and just put these things 
aside, and poke the fire, and brighten up the place, will 

As soon as the old gentleman had put on his coat, and 
cast a hasty glance at himself in the glass, he hobbled to the 
drawing-room, and there found a lady seated, who, when she 
raised her veil, partly to his relief, partly to his disappoint- 
ment, revealed the well-known features of Mrs M'Diarmid. 

" God bless my soul, my dear Mrs Mac, who ever would 
have thought of seeing you here ! I mean to say this is 
what one might call an unexpected pleasure. Come out of 
this confoundedly cold room, my dear madam. Now I know 
who is my visitor, I will, with your permission, waive all 
formality and receive you in my sanctum. This way, my 
dear madam. You must excuse my hobbling slowly; but 
my old enemy the gcut has been trying me rather severely 
during the last few days." 


Chattering on in this fashion, the old gentleman gallantly 
offered Mrs M'Diarmid his arm, and led her from the cold 
and formally-arranged drawing-room, where everything was 
set and stiff, to his own cheerful little room, the perfection 
of bachelor comfort and elegance. 

" Wheel a chair round for the lady, Sargeant, there, with 
its back to the light, and push that footstool nearer. — There, 
my dear madam, that's more comfortable. You have break- 
fasted ? Sorry for it. I've some orange pekoe that is 
unrivalled in London, and there's a little ham that is per- 
fectly de-licious. You won't ? Then all I can say is, that 
yours is the loss. And now, my dear madam, you have not 
told me what has procured me the honour of this visit." 

Had the old lady been viciously disposed, she might 
easily have pleaded that her host had not" given her the 
chance ; but as it was her policy to be most amiable, she 
merely smiled sweetly upon him, and said that her visit was 
actuated by important business. 

Outside the bank-parlour, Mr Foljambe detested business 
visits of all kinds ; and even there he only tolerated them. 
.Female visitors were his special aversion ; and the leaden- 
buttoned porter in Lombard-street had special directions as 
to their admission. The junior partner, a buck of forty-five, 
who dressed according to the fashion of ten years since, and 
who was supposed still to cause a flutter in the virgin breasts 
of Balham, where his residence, " The Pineries," was situate, 
was generally told off to reply to the questions of such 
ladies as required consultation with Burkinyoung, Foljambe, 
and Co. 

So that when Mrs M'Diarmid mentioned business as the 
cause of her visit, the old gentleman was scarcely reassured, 
and begged for a further explanation. 

" Well, when I say business, Mr Eoljambe," said the old 
lady, again resuming her smile, " I scarcely know whether 
I'm doing justice to what lies in my own — my own bosom. 

a coup manque;. 265 

Business, Mr Foljambe, is a hard word, as I know well 
enough, connected with my early life — of which you know, 
no doubt, from our friends iu Brook-street — connected with 
hoot-cleaning, and errand-sending, and generally poor 
George's carryings-on in — no matter. And indeed there is 
but little business connected with what rules the court, the 
camp, the grove, and is like the red red rose, which is newly 
sprung in June, sir. You will perceive, Mr Foljambe, that 
I am alluding to Love." 

"To Love, madam ! " exclaimed the old gentleman with 
a jerk, thinking at the same time, " Good God ! can it be 
possible that I have ever said anything to this old vulgarian 
that can have induced her to imagine that I'm in love with 
her ? " 

" To Love, Mr Foljambe ; though to you and me, at our 
time of life, such ideas are generally non compos. Tet there 
are hearts that feel for another ; and yours is one, I am 
certain sure." 

" Tou must be a little clearer, madam, if you want me to 
follow you," said the old gentleman gruffly. 

" "Well, then, to have no perspicuity or odontification, 
and to do our duty in that state into which heaven has called 
us," pursued Mrs Mac, with a lingering recollection of the 
Church Catechism, " am I not right in thinking tbat you 
take an interest in our Maddy ? " 

" In Miss Kilsyth ? " said Foljambe. " The very greatest 
interest that a man at — at my time of life could possibly take 
in a girl of her age. But surely you don't think, Mrs 
M'Diarmid, that— that I'm in love with her ? " 

"Powers above!" exclaimed Mrs Mac, "do you think 
that I've lost my reason ; or that if you were, it would be 
any good ? Do you think that I for one would stand by and 
see my child sacrificed ? No, of course I don't mean tbat ! 
But what T do mean is, that you're fond of our Maddy, ain't 


" Yes," said the old gentleman with a burst ; " yes, I am > 
there, will that content you ? I think Madeleine Kilsyth a 
very charming girl ! " 

"And worthy of a very charming husband, Mr ~Fo\- 

" And worthy of a very charming husband. But where 
is he ? I have been tolerably intimate with the family for 
years — not, of course, as intimate as you, my dear Mrs 
M'Diarmid, but still I may say an intimate and trusted 
friend — and I have never seen any one whom I could think 
in the least likely to be apretendu — not in the least." 

" K-no ; not before they left for Scotland, certainly." 

" No ; and then in Scotland, you know, of course there 
would have been a chance — country house full of company, 
thrown together and all that kind of thing — best adjuncts 
for love-making, importunity and opportunity, as I daresay 
you know well enough, my dear madam ; but then Maddy 
was taken ill, and that spoilt the whole chance." 

" Spoilt the whole chance ! Maddy's illness spoilt the 
whole chance, did it ? Are you quite sure of that, Mr 
Poljambe? Are you quite sure that that illness did not 
decide Maddy's future ? " 

" That illness ! " 

" That illness. ' Importunity and opportunity,' to quote, 
your own words, Mr Foljambe, the last if not the worst — 
have it how you will." 

" My dear Mrs M'Diarmid, you are speaking in riddles ; 
you are a perfect Sphinx, and I am, alas, no (Edipus. Will 
you tell me shortly what you mean ? " 

" Yes, Mr Foljambe, I will tell you ; I came to tell you, 
and to ask you, as an old friend of the family, what you 
thought. More than that, I came to ask you, as an old 
friend of one whom I think most interested, what you thought. 
You know well and intimately Dr Wilmot ? " 

" Know "Wilmot ? Thoroughly and most intimately, 


and — why, good Q-od, my dear madam, you don't think that 
"Wilraot its in love with Miss Kilsyth ? " 

" I confess that I have thought — " 

" Rubbish, my dear madam ! Simple nonsense ! You 
have been confounding the attention which a man wrapped 
up in his own profession, in the study of science, pays to a 
case with attentions paid to an individual. "Why, my dear 
madam, if — not to be offensive — if you had had Miss Kilsyth's 
illness, and "Wilmot had attended you, he would have bestowed 
on you exactly the same interest." 

" Perhaps while the case lasted, Mr Foljambe, while his 
professional duty obliged him to do so; but not afterwards." 
" Not afterwards ? Does Dr Wilmot still pay attention 
to Miss Kilsyth ? " 

" The last time I was in Brook-street I saw him there," 
said the old lady, bridling, "paying Miss Kilsyth great 
' attention.' " 

"Then it was a farewell visit, Mrs M'Diarmid," replied 
Mr Foljambe. " Dr "Wilmot quits town — and England — at 
once, for a lengthened sojourn on the Continent." 

" Leaves town — and England ?" said Mrs Mac blankly. 

" For several months. Devoted to his profession, as he al- 
ways has been, without the smallest variation in his devotion, 
he goes to Berlin to study in the hospitals there. Does that 
look like the act of an ardent soupircmt, Mrs M'Diarmid ? " 

" Not unless he has reasons for feeling that it is better 
that he should so absent himself,' ' said the old lady. 

" Of that you will probably be the best judge," said Mr 
Foljambe. " My knowledge of Chudleigh "Wilmot is not such 
as to lead me to believe that he would ' set his fortunes on a 
die ' without calculating the result." 

In the "off season," when her fashionable friends were 
away from town, Mrs M'Diarmid was in the habit of receiv- 
ing some few acquaintances who constituted a whist-club, 


and met from week to week at each other's houses. Amongst 
this worthy sisterhood Mrs Mac passed for a very shrewd 
and clever woman ; a " deep " woman, who never " showed 
her hand." But on turning into Portland-place after her 
interview with Mr Foljambe, the old lady felt that she had 
forfeited that title to admiration, and that too without the 
lightest adequate result. 



It is probable that if Chudleigh Wilmot had remained 
in London, fulfilling his professional duties and leading his 
ordinary life, the declaration of love and the offer of his 
hand which in clue course he would have made to Miss Kil- 
syth would have, for the first time, caused that young lady 
to avow the real state of her feelings towards him to her- 
self. These feelings, beginning in gratitude, had passed 
into hero-worship, which is perhaps about as dangerous a 
phase both for adorer and adored as any in the whole 
category ; showing as it does that the former must be 
considerably "far gone" before she could consent to exalt 
any man into an object of idolatry, and proving very peril- 
ous to the latter from the impossibility of his separating 
himself from the peculiar attributes which are supposed to 
call forth the devotion. And "Wilmot was just such an idol 
as a girl like Madeleine would place upon a pedestal and 
worship with constancy and fervour. The very fact that 
he possessed none of those qualifications so esteemed by 
and in the men by whom she was ordinarily surrounded 
was in her eyes a point in his favour. He did not hunt ; 
he was an indifferent shot ; he professed himself worse than 


.a child at billiards, and his whist-playing was something 
atrocious. But then, for the best man across country, the 
straightest rider to hounds whom they knew, was Captain 
Severn, a slangy wretch only tolerated in society for his 
wife's sake. George Pitcairn was a splendid shot ; but he 
had never heard of Tennyson, and would probably think 
that Browning was the name of a setter. Major Delapoche 
was the billiard champion at Kilsyth, where he was never 
seen out of the billiard-room, except at meal-times ; and as 
for whist, there could not be much in that when her father 
declared that there were not three men at Brookes's who 
could play so good a rubber as old Dr M' Johns, the Pres- 
byterian clergyman in the village. Ever since she had been 
emancipated from her governess, she had longed to meet 
some man of name and renown, who would take an interest 
in her, and whom she could reverence, admire, and look up to. 
She never pined for the heroes of the novels which she read, 
probably because she saw plenty of them in her ordinary 
life, and she was used to them and their ways. The big 
heavy dragoons of the Guy -Living stone type — by his por- 
trayal of whom Mr Lawrence establishes for himself such a 
reputation amongst the young ladies of the middle classes, 
who pine after the beaux sabreurs and the " cool captains," 
principally because they have never met any one in real life 
like them — are by no means such sources of raving among 
the girls accustomed to country-house and London-season 
society, who are familiar with something like the prototype 
of each character. Ronald's brother officers, Kilsyth's 
sporting friends, and Lady Muriel's connections, had made 
this kind of type too common for Madeleine, even if her 
temperament had not been very different, to elevate it into 
a hero ; but she had never met any one fulfilling her ideas 
until Chudleigh Wilmot crossed her path. From the ear- 
liest period of her convalescence, from the time when 
slowly-returning strength gave her an interest again in 


life, until the time that Wilrnot left London, she had 
indulged in this happy dream. She was something in that 
man's life, something to which his thoughts occasionally 
turned, as she hoped, as she believed, with pleasure. As 
to "being in love," as it is phrased, Madeleine believed 
that such a state as little applied to Wilmot as to herself, 
and of her own entire innocence in the existence of such a 
feeling she was confident. But there was established a 
curious relation between them which she could not explain, 
but which she thoroughly understood, and which made her 
very happy. Hour after hour she would sit thinking over 
this acquaintance, so singularly begun, so different from 
anything which she had ever previously experienced, and 
wondering within herself what a bright clever man like Dr 
"Wilmot could see to like in a silly girl like herself. If 
Wilmot had been differently constituted she could have 
understood it well enough ; for though very free from 
vanity, Madeleine was of course conscious that she had a 
pretty face, and she could perfectly understand the admira- 
tion which she received from Ramsay Caird and the men of 
whom he was a type. But she imagined Wilmot to be far 
too staid and serious, far too much absorbed in his studies 
and his " cases," to notice anything so unimportant. 

What could he see in her ? She asked herself this 
question a thousand times without arriving at any satis- 
factory result. She thought that Wilmot, whom she had 
exalted into her hero, would naturally not bestow his 
thoughts on any but a heroine ; and she knew that there 
was very little of the heroine in her. Indeed I, writing 
this veracious history, am often surprised at my own daring 
in having, in these highly-spiced times, ventured to submit 
so very tame a specimen of womanhood to public notice. 
Madeleine Kilsyth was neither tawny and leopard-like, nor 
hideous and quaintly-fascinating. She was merely an or- 
dinary English girl, with about as much cleverness as girls 


have at hor ago, when they havo had no occasion to use 
their brains ; and she thought and argued in a girlish man- 
ner. She could not tell that the difference in each from 
their ordinary acquaintance pleased them equally. If 
Madeleine had been bright, clever, witty, fast, flirting, or 
blasee, she would never have seen her physician after her 
recovery. "Wilmot was too thoroughly acquainted with 
women of all these varieties to find any pleasure in an ad- 
ditional "specimen. It was the young girl's freshness and 
innocence, her frankness and trusting confidence, her bright 
looks and happy thoughts, that touched the heart of the 
worn and solitary man, and made him feel that there were 
in life joys which he had never experienced, and which 
were yet worth living for. 

To admire and reverence him ; to find the best and 
most valuable of resources in his friendship, the wisest and 
truest guidance in his intellect, the most exquisite of 
pleasures in his society ; to triumph in his fame, and to 
try to merit his approval — such, as we have seen, had been 
Madeleine's scheme. Now this was all changed : he was 
gone ; the greatest enjoyment of her life, his society, was 
taken from her. He was gone ; he would be absent for a 
long time; she should not see him, would not hear his 
voice, for weeks — it might be for months : it took her a 
long time to realize this fact, and with its realization 
flashed across her the knowledge that she loved Chudleigh 

Loved him ! The indefinite, inexplicable sentiments so 
long brooded over were gone now, and she looked into her 
own heart and acknowledged its condition. So long as he 
remained in London, so long as there was a chance of 
seeing him, even though she knew that his departure had 
been decided on, and was almost inevitable, she yet re- 
mained unconscious of the state of her feelings. It was 
only when ho was actually gone, when she knew that tho 


long-dreaded step had been taken, that all chance of seeing 
him again for months was at an end, that the truth flashed 
upon her. She loved him! — loved him with the whole 
warmth, truth, and earnestness of her sweet simple nature ; 
loved him as such a man should be loved — deeply, fervently, 
■ and confidingly. In the first recognition of the existence 
of this feeling, she was scarcely likely to inquire psycho- 
logically into it ; but she felt that her love for Wihnot had 
many component parts. The admiration and reverence 
with which he had originally inspired her still remained ; 
but with them was now blended a passion which had never 
before been evoked in her. She longed to see him again, 
longed to throw her arms round his neck and whisper to 
him how she loved him. How miserably blind she had 
been ! What childish folly had been hers not sooner to 
have comprehended the meaning of her feelings towards 
this man ! She loved him, and — a fearful thought flashed 
across her. Had it come too late, the discovery of this 
passion ? Had she been dreaming when the golden chance 
of her life came by, and had she let it pass unheeded? 
And again, what were "Wilmot's feelings with regard to 
her ? Was he under such a delusion as had long oppressed 
her? He was a man, strong-minded, clear-brained, and of 
subtle intellect ; he would know at once whether his liking 
for her arose from professional interest, from the friendly 
feeling which, situated as they had been together at Kil- 
syth, woxild naturally spring up between them, or whether 
it had a deeper foundation and was of a warmer character. 
His manner to her — save perhaps on that one mornin°- in 
Brook-street, when Ronald interrupted them so brusquely 
— had never been marked by anything approaching to 
warmth; and yet — That morning in Brook-street! there 
had been a difference then ; she had noticed it at the time 
and, now regarded in the new light which had dawned 
upon her, the thought was strengthened and confirmed. 


She remembered tho way in which he held her hand, and 
looked down at her with a soft earnest gaze out of those 
wonderful eyes ; such a look as she had never had before or 
since. If ever lovo was conveyed by looks, if ever eyes 
spoke, it was surely then. Ah, did he feel for her as she 
now knew she felt for him, or was it merely warm friend- 
ship, fraternal affection, that actuated him ? He had gone 
away; would he have done that if he had loved her? She 
had asked herself this question before the state of her own 
real feelings had dawned upon her, only then substituting 
tho word " like " for love, and had decided that, if he had 
cared for her ever so little, he would have remained. But 
her recent discovery led her now to think very differently, 
and she hoped that this ardour in the cause of science, 
which prompted this professional visit to Berlin, and ne- 
cessitated this lengthened absence, might be assumed, and 
that the real motive of Wilmot's departure might be his 
desire to avoid her, ignorant as he was of the state of her 
feelings towards him. Heaven grant that it might be so ! 
for now that she knew herself, it would be easy to recall 
him. Some pretext could be found for bringing him back 
to England, back to her ; and once together again they 
would never separate. As this thought passed through 
her mind her glance fell upon her hands, which were 
clasped before her, and upon a ring which had been given 
her by Eamsay Caird. By Eamsay Caird ! The curtain 
dropped as swiftly as it had risen, and Madeleine shivered 
from head to foot. 

It was a pretty ring, a broad hoop of gold set with 
three turquoises, and the word "aei" engraved upon it. 
Madeleine remembered that Eamsay Caird had presented 
it to her on her last birthday, and while presenting it had 
said a few words of compliment and kindness with an earn- 
estness and an empressement such as he had never before 
shown. He was not a brilliant man, but he had the society 


air and the society talk; and he imported just enough 
seriousness into the latter when he said something ahout 
wishing he had dared to have had the ring perfectly plain 
— just enough to convey his intended hint without mating 
a fool of himself. Eamsay Caird ! There, then, was her 
fate, her future ! Knowing all that had been pre-arranged, 
she had been mad enough to dream for a few minutes of 
loving and being loved by Ohudleigh Wilmot, when she 
knew, as well as if it had been expressly stated instead of 
merely implied, that Eamsay Caird was looked upon by her 
family and by most of their intimate friends, as her future 

Eamsay Caird her future husband ! She herself had 
occasionally thought of him in that position, not with dis- 
satisfaction. Knowing nothing better, she imagined that 
the liking which she undoubtedly entertained for the 
pleasant young man was love. She had not been brought 
up in a very gushing school. She had no intimate friend, 
no one with whom to exchange confidences ; and her ac- 
quaintances seemed to make liking do very well for love, at 
least as far as their fiances or their husbands were con- 
cerned. Madeleine, when she had thought about the mat- 
ter, had quite convinced herself that she liked Eamsay 
very much indeed ; and it was only after she discovered 
that she loved Wilmot that she was undeceived. She 
thought that she had liked him well enough to marry him, 
but now she hated herself for ever having entertained such 
an idea. She knew now that she had never felt love for 
Eamsay Caird; and she would not marry where she did 
not love. 

A hundred diverse and distracting thoughts and in- 
fluences were at work within the young girl's mind. Doubt 
as to whether she was really loved by "Wilmot, doubt as to 
how far she was pledged to Eamsay Caird, comprehension 
of the urgent necessity at once to take some steps towards 


a solution of tho difficulty, inability to decide on the fittest 
course to pursue, disinclination to appeal to her father 
through bashfulncss and timidity, to Lady Muriel through 
distrust, to Ronald through absolute fear : all these feelings 
alternated in Madeleine's breast ; and as she experienced 
each and all, there hung over her a sense of an impending 
dreadful something which she could not explain, could not 
understand, but which seemed to crush her to the earth. 

The cause of the feeling which for some time past had 
induced her to shrink from Eonald, to be silent and de- 
pressed when he was present, and to be rather glad when he 
stayed away from Brook-street, was now perfectly under- 
stood by her. In her new appreciation of herself she saw 
plainly that the fact of her brother's having always been 
Ramsay Oaird's friend and Chudleigh Wilmot's enemy 
would, insensibly to herself, have caused an estrangement 
between them in these later days. And why was Eonald so 
hostile to Wilmot, so bitter in his depreciation of him, so 
grudging in his praise even of Wilmot's professional quali- 
fications ? Was this hostility merely a result of Ronald's 
normal " oddness " and sternness, t.r ^id it spring from the 
fact that Ronald had observed his sister narrowly, and had 
discovered, before she herself knew of it, the state of her 
feelings towards Wilmot ? Thinking over this, the remem- 
brance of her brother's manner that morning in Brook-street, 
when he broke in upon her interview with Wilmot, flashed 
across Madeleine's mind, and she felt convinced that her 
dread suspicions were right, and that Ronald had guessed 
the truth. 

The reason of his hatred to Wilmot was then at once ap- 
parent to Madeleine. Ronald had always supported Ram- 
say's unacknowledged position in the family very strongly, 
not demonstratively, but tacitly, as was his custom in most 
things. He was essentially " thorough ; " and Madeleine 
imagined that nothing would probably annoy him so much 

T 2 


as the lack of thoroughness iu those whom he loved and 
trusted. She saw that, actuated by these feelings, her 
brother would regard, had regarded what she had previously 
imagined to be her admiration and reverence, but what she 
now knew, and what Eonald had probably from the first re- 
cognized, to be her love for Chudleigh Wilmot as base 
treachery; and he hated Wilmot for having, however 
innocently, called these feelings into play. However inno- 
cently ? There was a drop of comfort even in this bitter 
cup for poor Madeleine. However innocently ? Ronald 
was a man of the world, eminently clear-headed and far- 
seeing — might not his hatred of Wilmot arise from his 
having perceived that Wilmot himself was aware of Made- 
leine's feelings, and reciprocated them ? He had never said 
so — never hinted at it ; but then that soft fond look into 
her eyes when they were alone together in the drawing-room 
in Brook-street rose in the girl's memory, and almost bade 
her hope. 

These mental anxieties, these vacillations between hope 
and fear, doubt and despair, which furnished Madeleine 
with constant food for reflection, were not without their 
due effect on her bodily health. Her fond father, watching 
her ever with jealous care, noticed the hectic flush upon 
her cheek more frequent, her spirits lower, her strength 
daily decreasing : he became alarmed, and confessed his 
alarm to Lady Muriel. 

"Madeleine is far from well," he said; " very far from 
well. I notice an astonishing difference in her within the 
last few months. After her first recovery from the fever, I 
thought she would take a new lease of life. But Wilmot 
was right throughout ; she is very delicate ; the last few 
weeks have made a perceptible difference in her; and 
Wilmot is not here to come in and cheer us after seeing 
her " 


" I think you are over-anxious about Madeleine," said 
Lady Muriel. " I must confess, Alick, slie is not strong ; 
she never was before her illness ; and I do not believe that 
she ever recovered even her previous strength ; but I do not 
think so badly of her as you do. As you say, we have not 
Dr Wilmot to send for. For reasons best known to him- 
self, but which I confess I have been unable, so far as I have 
troubled myself, to fathom, Dr Wilmot has chosen to absent 
himself, and to put himself thoroughly out of any chance of 
his being sent for. But so far as advice goes, I suppose Sir 
Saville Eowe is still unequalled ; and Dr Wilmot must have 
full confidence in him, or he would never have begged him 
to break through his retirement and attend upon Made- 

" Yes ; that is all very well, Of course Sir Saville Eowe's 
opinion is excellent and all that, but he comes here but 
seldom ; and one can't talk to him as one could to Wilmot ; 
and he does not stop and talk and all that sort of thing, 
don't you know ? Maddy's is a case where particular interest 
should be taken, it strikes me ; and I think Wilmot did take 
special interest in her." 

" I don't think there can be any doubt of that," said 
Lady Muriel, with the slighest touch of dryness in her ac- 
cent. " Dr Wilmot's devotion to his patient was undeniable ; 
but Dr Wilmot's away, and not available, and we must do 
our best to help ourselves during his absence. My own 
feeling is that the girl wants thoroughly rousing ; she gets 
moped sitting here day after day with you and me and Mrs 
M'Diarmid; and Eonald, when he comes, does not tend 
much to enliven her. Eamsay Oaird is the only one with 
any life and spirits in the whole party." 

" He's a good fellow, Eamsay," said Kilsyth ; " a genial, 
pleasant, brisk fellow." 

" He is ; and he's a true-hearted fellow, Alick, which is 
better still. By the way, Alick, he spoke to me the 


other day upon that subject which I mentioned to you be- 
fore — about Madeleine, you recollect ? " 

"I recollect perfectly, Muriel," said Kilsyth slowly. 

"You said then,, if you remember, that there was no 
reason for pressing the matter then — no reason for hurrying 
it on ; that Madeleine was full young, and that it would be 
better to wait and let us see more of Earn say. You were 
perfectly right in what you said. I agreed with you 
thoroughly, and what you suggested has been done. "We 
have waited now for several months ; Madeleine has gone 
through a crisis in her life." (Lady Muriel looted steadily 
at her husband as she said these words to see if he detected 
any double meaning in them ; but Kilsyth only nodded his 
head gravely.) " "We have seen more, a great deal more, of 
Eamsay Caird ; and from what you just said, I conclude you 
like him ? " 

" I was not thinking of him in that light when I spoke, 
my dear Muriel," said Kilsyth ; " but indeed I see no reason 
to alter my opinion. He's a pleasant, bright, good-tempered 
fellow, and I think would make a good husband. He has 
seen plenty of life, and will be all the better for it when he 
settles down." 

" Exactly. Well, then, having settled that point, I think 
^ou will agree with me that now the matter does press, and 
there is reason for hurrying it on. Not the marriage, — there 
is no necessity for hastening with that ; but it is both neces- 
sary and proper that it should be understood that Madeleine 
and Ramsay Caird are regularly engaged. As I said before, 
Madeleine wants rousing. She is fade and weary and a little 
lackadaisical. You remember how she burst out crying 
about that book the other night. She wants employment 
for her thoughts and her mind ; and if she is engaged, and 
we then find her occupation in searching for a house then 
in furnishing it, choosing trousseau, brougham, jewels, the 
thousand-and-one little things that we can find for her to do, 


you may depend upon it you will soon see her a different 

Kilsyth said he hoped so ; but his tone had little buoy- 
ancy in it, and was almost despondent as he added : 

" What about Maddy herself ? Has she any notion of — 
of what you have just said to me, Muriel ? " 

" Any notion, my dear Alick ? Madeleine, though back- 
ward in some things, has plenty of common sense ; and she 
must be perfectly aware what Eamsay's intentions mean and 
point to. Indeed my own observation leads me to believe 
that she not merely understands them, but is favourably dis- 
posed towards their object." 

" Yes ; but what I mean to say is, Maddy has never been 
plainly spoken to on the subject." 

" No, no ; not that I know of." 

" But she should be, eh ? " 

" Of course she should be — and at once. It is not fair 
to Mr Caird to keep him longer in suspense ; and there are 
other reasons which render such a course highly desirable." 

Again Lady Muriel looked steadfastly at her husband, 
and again he evaded her glance, and contented himself with 
nodding acquiescence at her suggestion. 

"This should be done," continued Lady Muriel, "by 
some one who has influence with dear Madeleine, whom she 
regards with great affection, and whose opinion she is likely 
to respect. I have never said as much to you, my dear 
Alick, because I did not want to w T orry you, in the first 
place ; and in the second, because the thing sits very lightlv 
on me, and the feeling is one which is natural, and which I 
can perfectly understand ; but the fact is that I am Made- 
leine's step-mother only, and she regards me exactly in that 

" Muriel ! " cried Kilsyth. 

" My dear Alick, it is perfectly natural and intelligible, 
and I make no complaint. I should not have alluded to the 


subject if it were not necessary, you may depend upon it. 
But I thought perhaps that you might expect me to broach 
the matter which we have been recently discussing to Made- 
leine ; and for the reasons I have given, I think that would 
be wholly unadvisable. Tou did think so, did you not ? " 

" "Well," said Kilsyth, who felt himself becoming rapidly 
' cornered,' " I confess I was going to ask you to do it ; but 
of course if you — and I feel — of course — that you're right. 
But then the question comes — as it must be done — who is to 
do it? I'm sure I could not." 

Lady Muriel's brow darkened for a few moments as she 
heard this, but it cleared again ere she spoke. " There is 
only one person left then," said she; "and I am not sure 
that, after all, he is not the most fitting in such a case as 
this. I mean, of course, Bonald. He is perfectly straight- 
forward and independent ; he will see the matter in its right 
light ; and, above all, he has great influence with Madeleine." 

" Ronald's a little rough, isn't he ? " said Kilsyth doubt- 
fully ; " he don't mean it, I know ; but still in a matter like 
this he might — what do you think ? " 

I think, as I have said, that he is the exact person. His 
manner may be a little cold, somewhat Irusque to most 
people ; but he has Madeleine's interest entirely at heart, 
and he has always shown her, as you know, the most un- 
swerving affection. He has a liking for Eamsay Caird ; he 
appreciates the young man's worth ; and he will be able to 
place affairs in their proper position." 

So Kilsyth, with an inexpressible feeling that all was not 
quite right, but with the impossibility of being able to better 
it, vividly before him, agreed to his wife's proposition ; and 
the next day Bonald had a long interview with Lady Muriel, 
when they discussed the whole subject, and settled upon 
their plan of action. Bonald undertook the mission cheer- 
fully ; he and his step-mother fully understood each other, 
and appreciated the necessity of immediate steps. Neither 

AT our minister's. 281 

entered into any detail, so far as Chudleigh Wilmot was 
concerned ; but each knew that the other was aware of the 
existence of that stumbling-block, and was impressed with 
the expediency of its removal. 

Two days afterwards Eonald knocked at the door of Lady 
Muriel's boudoir at a very much earlier hour than he was 
usually to be found in Brook-street. "When he entered the 
room he looked a thought more flushed and a thought less 
calm and serene than was his wont. Lady Muriel also 
was a little agitated as she rose hastily from her chair and 
advanced to greet him. 

" Have you seen her ? " she asked ; " is it over ? what 
did she say? " 

" She is the best girl in the world ! " said Eonald ; " she 
took it quite calmly, and acquiesced perfectly in the arrange- 
ment. I think we must have been wrong with regard to 
that other person — at least so far as Madeleine's caring for 
him is concerned." 

Ob, of course : Madeleine cared nothing for " that other 
person," the loss of whose love she was at. that moment 
bewailing, stretched across her bed, and weeping bitterly. 



Meanwhile Chudleigh "Wilmot, bearing the secret of 
his great sorrow about with him, bearing with him also the 
dread horror and gnawing remorse which the fear that his 
wife had committed self-destruction had engendered in his 
breast, had sought safety in flight from the scene of his 
temptation, and oblivion in absence from his daily haunts, 


and to a certain extent had found both. How many of us 
are there who have experienced the benefit of that blessed 
change of climate, language, habit of life ? I declare I be- 
lieve that the continental boats rarely leave the Dover or the 
Folkestone pier without carrying away amongst their motley 
load some one or two passengers who are going not for 
pleasure or profit, not with the idea of visiting foreign cities 
or observing foreign manners, not with the intention of gain- 
ing bodily health, or with the vain-glory of being able to say 
on their return that they have been abroad (which actuates 
not a few of them), but simply in the hope that the entire 
change will bring to them surcease of brain- worry and heart- 
despondency, calm instead of anxiety, peace in place of 
feverish longing, rest — no matter how dull, how stupid, how 
torpid — instead of brilliant, baleful, soul-harrowing excite- 
ment. After having pursued the beauty of Brompton 
through the London season ; after having spent a little for- 
tune in anonymous bouquets for her and choice camellias for 
his own adornment ; after having duly attended at every 
fete offered by the Zoological and Botanical Societies, danced 
himself weary at balls, maimed his feet at croquet-parties, 
and ricked his neck with staring up at her box from the 
opera-stalls, — Jones, finding all his jietits soins unavailing, and 
learning that the rich stock-broker from Surbiton has dis- 
tanced him in the race, and is about to carry off the prize, 
flings himself and his portmanteau on board the Ostend boat, 
and finds relief and a renewal of his former devotion to him- 
self among the quaint old Belgian cities. By the time he 
arrives at the Uhine-bord he is calmer ; he has lapsed into 
the sentimental stage, and is enabled to appreciate and, if 
anybody gives him the chance, to quote all the lachrymose 
and all the morbid passages. He relapses dreadfully when 
he gets to Homburg, because he then thinks it necessary to 
— as he phrases it in his diary — " seek the Lethe of the 
gaming-table ; " but having lost his five pounds' worth of 

AT our minister's. 283 

florins, be is generally content ; and when ho arrives iu 
Switzerland Jinds himself in a proper- tempered state of mind, 
quite fitted to commune with Nature, and to convey to the 
Jungfrau his very low opinion of the state of humanity in 
general, and of the female being who has blighted his young 
affections in particular. And by the time that his holiday is 
over, and he returns to his office or his chambers, he has 
forgotten all the nonsense that enthralled him, and is pre- 
pared to commence a new course of idiotcy, da capo, with 
another enchantress. 

. And ] to Chudleigh "Wilmot, though a sensible and 
thoughtful man, the change was no less serviceable. The 
set character of his daily duties, the absorbing nature of 
his studies, the devotion to his profession, which had 
narrowed his ideas and cramped his aspirations, once cast 
off and put aside, his mind became almost childishly im- 
pressionable by the new ideas which dawned upon it, the 
new scenes which opened upon his view. In his wonder 
at and admiration of the various beauties of nature and art 
which came before him there was something akin to the 
feeling which his acquaintance with Madeleine Kilsyth had 
first awakened within him. As then, he began to feel now 
that for the first time he lived; that his -life hitherto had 
been a great prosaic mistake ; that he had worshipped false 
gods, and only just arrived at the truth. To be sure, he 
had now the additional feeling of a lost love and an unap- 
peasable remorse ; but the sting even of these was tempered 
and modified by his enjoyment of the loveliness of nature 
by which he was surrounded. 

His time was his own ; and to kill it pleasantly was his 
greatest object. He crossed from Dover to Ostend, and 
lingered some days on the Belgian seaboard. Thence he 
pursued his way by the easiest stages through the flat low- 
lying country, so rich in cathedrals and pictures, in Gothic 
architecture and aweot-tonod carillons, in portly burghers 


and shovel-hatted priests and plump female peasants. To 
Bruges, to Ghent, and Antwerp ; to Brussels, and thence, 
through the lovely country that lies round Verviers and 
Liege, to Cologne and the Bhine, Chudleigh "Wilmot jour- 
neyed, stopping sometimes for days wherever he felt 
inclined, and almost insensibly acquiring bodily and mental 

There is a favourite story of the practical hard-headed 
school of philosophers, showing how that one of their 
number, when overwhelmed with grief at the loss of his 
only son, managed to master his extreme agony, and to 
derive very great consolation from the study of mathe- 
matics — a branch of science with which he had not pre- 
viously been familiar. It probably required a peculiar 
temperament to accept of and benefit by so peculiar a 
remedy ; but undoubtedly great grief, arising from what- 
soever source, is susceptible of being alleviated by mental 
employment. And , thus, though Chudleigh Wilmot bore 
about with him the great sorrow of his life ; though the 
sweet sad face of Madeleine Kilsyth was constantly before 
him ; and though the dread suspicion regarding the manner 
of his wife's death haunted him perpetually, as time passed 
over his head, and as his mind, naturally clever, opened 
and expanded under the new training it was unconsciously 
receiving, he found the bitterness of the memory of his 
short love-dream fading into a settled fond regret, and the 
horror which he had undergone at the discovery of the seal- 
ring becoming less and less poignant. 

Not that the nature of his love for Madeleine had 
changed in the least. He saw her sweet face in the blue 
eyes and fair hair of big blonde Madonnas in altar-pieces 
in Blemish cathedrals ; he imagined her as the never-failing 
heroine of such worts of poetry and fiction as now, for the 
first time for many years, he found leisure and inclination 
to read. He would sit for hours, his eyes fixed on some 

AT our minister's. 285 


ively landscape before him, but his thoughts busy with 
tlie events of the past few months— those few months into 
which all the important circumstances of his life were 
gathered. One by one he would pass in review the details 
of his meetings, interviews, and conversations with Made- 
leine, from the period of his visit to Kilsyth to his last sad 
parting from her in Brook-street. And then he would go 
critically into an examination of his own conduct ; he was 
calm enough to do that now ; and he had the satisfaction 
of thinking that he had pursued the only course open to 
him as a gentleman and a man of honour. He had fled from 
the sweetest, the purest, the most unconscious temptation ; 
and by his flight he hoped he was expiating the wrong 
which he had ignorantly committed by his neglect of his 
late wife. That must be the key-note of his future con- 
duct — expiation. So far as the love of women or the praise 
of men was concerned, his future must be a blank. He had 
made his mind up to that, and would go through with it. 
Of the former he had very little, but very sweet experience 
— just one short glimpse of what might have been, and then 
back again into the dull dreary life ; and of the latter — 
well, he had prized it and cherished it at one time, had 
laboured to obtain and deserve it ; but it was little enough 
to him now. 

Among the old Rhenish towns, at that time of year 
almost free of English, save such as from economical motives 
were there resident, "Wilmot lingered lovingly, and spent 
many happy weeks. To the ordinary tourist, eager for his 
next meal of castles and crags, the town means simply the 
hotel where he feeds and rests for the night, while its in- 
habitants are represented by the landlord and the waiters, 
whose exactions hold no pleasant place in his memory. 
But those who stay among them will find the Rhenish burgh- 
ers kindly, cheery, and hospitable, with a vein of romanco 
and an enthusiastic love for their great river strangely 


mixed up with their national stolidity and business-like 
habits. Desiring to avoid even such few of his countrymen 
as were dotted about the enormous salons of the hotels, and 
yet, to a certain extent, fearing solitude, "Wilmot eagerly 
availed himself of all the chances offered him for mixing 
with native society, and was equally at home in the mer- 
chant's parlour, the artist's atelier, or the student's hneipe. 
Pleasant old Vaterland ! how many of us have kindly 
memories of thee and of thy pleasures, perhaps more inno- 
cent, and certainly cheaper, than those of other countries, 
— memories of thy beer combats, and thy romantic sons, 
our confreres, and thy young women, with such abundance 
of hair and such large feet ! 

At length, when more than three months had glided 
away, "Wilmot determined upon starting at once for Berlin. 
He had lazed away his time pleasantly enough, far more 
pleasantly than he had imagined would ever have been 
practicable, and he had laid the ghosts of his regret and his 
remorse more effectually than at one time he had hoped. 
They came to him, these spectres, yet, as spectres should 
come, in the dead night-season, or at that worst of all 
times, when the night is dead and the day is not yet born, 
when, if it be our curse to lie awake, all disagreeable 
thoughts and fancies claim us for their own. The bill which 
we " backed " for the friend whose solvency and whose 
friendship have both become equally doubtful within the 
last few weeks ; the face of her we love, with its last-seen 
expression of jealousy, anger, and doubt ; the pile of neatly- 
cut but undeniably blank half-sheets of paper which is some 
day to be covered with our great work — that great work 
which we have thought of so long, but which we are as far 
as ever from commencing : all these charming items present 
themselves to our dreary gaze at that unholy four-o'clock 
waking, and chase slumber from our fevered eyelids. Chud* 
leigh Wilmot's ghosts came too, but less, far less frequently 


than at first ; and he was in hopes that in process of time 
they would gradually forsake him altogether, and leave him 
to that calm unemotional existdnce which was henceforth 
to he his. 

Meantime he began to hunger for news of home and 
home's doings. Eor the first few weeks of his absence he 
had regularly abstained even from reading the newspapers, 
and up to the then time he had sent no address to his 
servants, choosing to remain in absolute ignorance of all 
that was passing in London. This was in contradiction to 
his original intention, but, on carefully thinking it over, he 
decided that it would be better that he should know nothing. 
He apprehended no immediate danger to Madeleine, and he 
knew that she could not be better than under old Sir Saville 
"liowe's friendly care. He knew that there was no human 
probability of anything more decisive leaking out of the cir- 
cumstances of his wife's death. For any other matter he 
fiad no concern. His position in London society, his 
practice, what people said about him, were now all things 
of the past, which troubled him not ; and hitherto he had 
looked on his complete isolation from his former world as a 
great ingredient in his composure and his better being. 
But as his mind became less anxious and his health more 
vigorous, he began to hunger for news of what was going 
on in that world from which he had exiled himself ; and he 
hurried off to Berlin, anxious to secure some pied-a-terre 
which he could make at least a temporary home ; and he 
had no sooner arrived at the Hotel de Russe than he wrote 
at once to Sir Saville, begging for full and particular ac- 
counts of Madeleine Kilsyth's illness, and to his own 
servant, desiring that all letters which had been accumu- 
lating in Charles-street should be forwarded to him directly. 

Knowing that several days must elapse before his much- 
longed-for news could arrive, "Wilmot amused himself as best 
he might. To the man who has been accustomed to dwell 


in capitals, and who has been spending some months m pro- 
vincial towns, there is a something exhilarating in returning to 
any place where the business and pleasure of life are at their 
focus, even though it be in so tranquil a city as Berlin. The 
resident in capitals has a keen appreciation of many of those 
inexplicable nothingnesses which never are to be found else- 
where ; the best provincial town is to him but a bad imita- 
tion, a poor parody on his own loved home ; and in the same 
way, though the chief city of another country may be far be- 
neath that to which he is accustomed, nay, even in grandeur 
and architectural magnificence may not be comparable to 
some of the provincial towns of his native land, he at once 
falls into its ways, and is infinitely more at home in it, be- 
cause those ways and customs remind him of what he has 
left behind. Amidst the bustle and the excitement — mild 
though it was — of Berlin, Wilmot's desire for perpetual 
wandering began to ebb. A man who has nearly reached 
forty years of age in a fixed and settled routine of life makes 
a bad Bedouin ; and when the sting which first started him 
— be it of disappointment, remorse, or ennui, and the last 
worst of all — loses its venom, he will probably be glad enough 
to join the first caravan of jovial travellers which he may 
come across, so long as they are bound for the nearest habit- 
able and inhabitable city. Chudleigh "Wilmot knew that a 
return to England and his former life was, under existing 
•ircumstances, impossible ; he felt that he could not take up 
his residence in Paris, where he w _ ould be constantly meet- 
ing old English friends, to whom he could give no valid 
reason for his self-imposed exile ; but at Berlin it would be 
different. Very few English people, at least English people 
of his acquaintance, came to the Prussian capital • and to 
those whose path he might happen to cross he might, for the 
present at all events, plead his studies i n a peculiar' branch 
of his profession in which the German doctors had lon^ been 

unrivalled; while as for the future — the fnf-n™ ,-• i.^ ± i 

„.,,„. suture might take 

care of itsell ! 

AT OUR minister's. 289 

Wandering Unter den Linden, pausing in mute admira- 
tion be lb re the Brandenburger Thor, or tbe numerous statues 
with which the patriotism of the inhabitants and the sublime 
skill of the sculptor Eauch has decorated the city, loitering 
in the Kunst Kammer of the palace, spending hour after 
hour in the museum, reviving old recollections, tinged now 
with such mournfulness as accrues to anything which has 
been put by for ever, in visiting the great anatomical collec- 
tion, dropping into ther)pera or the theatre, and walking out 
to Charlottenburg or other of the pleasant villages on the 
Spree, Chudleigh Wilmot found life easier to him in Ber- 
lin than it had been for many previous months. There, for 
the first time since he left England, he availed himself of the 
fame which his talent had created for him, and found himself 
heartily welcome among the leading scientific men of the 
city, to all of whom he was well known by repute. To them, 
inquiring the cause of his visit, he gave the prepared answer, 
that he had come in person to study their mode of procedure 
which had so impressed him in their books ; and this did not 
tend to make his welcome less warm. So that, all things 
taken into consideration, Wilmot' had almost made up- his 
mind to remain in Berlin, at least for several months. He 
could attend the medical schools — it would afford him amuse- 
ment ; and if in the future he ever resumed the practice of 
his profession,' it could do him no harm ; his life, such as it 
was, were as well passed in Berlin as anywhere else ; and 
meanwhile time would be fleeting on, and the gulf between 
him and Madeleine Kilsyth would be gradually widening. 
It must widen ! No matter to what width it now attained, 
he could never hope to span it again. 

One day, on his return to his hotel after a long ramble, 
the waiter who was specially devoted to his service received 
him with a pleasant grin, and told him that a " post packet" 
of an enormous size awaited him. The parcel which Wilmot 
found on his table was certainly large enough to have created 
astcjiishment in the mind of any one, more especially a 


German waiter, accustomed only to the small square thin 
letters of his nation. There was but one huge packet; no 
letter from Sir Saville Rowe, nor from Mr Foljambe, to 
whom "Wilmot had also written specially. "Wilmot opened 
the envelope with an amount of nervousness which was alto- 
gether foreign to his nature ; his hand trembled unaccount- 
ably; and he had to clear his eyes before he could set 
to work to glance over the addresses of the score of 
letters which it contained. He ran* them over hurriedly ; 
nothing from Sir Saville Rowe, nothing from Mr Eoljambe, 
no line — but he had expected none from any of the Kilsyths. 
He threw aside unopened a letter in "Whittaker's bold hand, 
a dozen others whose superscriptions were familiar to him, 
and paused before one, the mere sight of which gave him an 
inexplicable thrill. It was a long, broad, blue-papered en- 
velope, addressed in a formal legal hand to him at his house 
in Charles-street, and marked " Immediate." There are few 
men but in their time have had an uneasy sensation caused 
by the perusal of their own name in that never-varying 
copying-clerk's caligraphy, with its thin upstrokes and thick 
downstrokes, its carefully crossed fa and infallibly dotted i's. 
Few but know the "further proceedings" which, unless a 
settlement be made on or before "Wednesday next, the 
writers are " desired to inform " us they will be " com- 
pelled to ', take." But Ohudleigh "Wilmot was among these 
few. During the whole of his career he had never owed a 
shilling which he could not have paid on demand, and his 
experience of law in any way had been nil. And yet the 
sight of this grim document had an extraordinarily terrifying 
effect upon him. He turned it backwards and forwards, 
took it up and laid it down several times, before he could 
persuade himself to break its seal, a great splodge of red wax 
impressed with the letters " L. & L." deeply cut. At length 
he broke it open. An enclosure fell from it to the ground • 
but not heeding that, "Wilmot held up the letter to the fast- 
fading, light, and read as follows : 

AT oue, minister's. 291 

" Lincoln's-inn. 

" Sie, — In accordance with instructions received from the 
late Mr Foljambe of Portland-place — " 

The late Mr Foljambe ! He must be dreaming ! He 
rubbed his eyes, walked a little nearer to the window, and 
reperused the letter. No ; there the sentence stood. 

" In accordance with instructions received from the late 
Mr Poljambe of Portland-place, we forward to you the en- 
closed letter. As it appeared that in consequence of your 
absence from England you could not be immediately com- 
municated with, and in pursuance of the instructions more 
recently verbally communicated to us by our late client in 
the event of such a contingency arising, we have taken upon 
ourselves to make the necessary arrangements for the 
funeral, as laid down in a memorandum written by the de- 
ceased ; and the interment will take place to-morrow morning 
at Kensal-green Cemetery. We trust you will approve of 
our proceedings in this matter, and that' you will make it 
convenient to return to London as soon as possible after the 
receipt of this letter, as there are pressing matters awaiting 
your directions. 

" Tour obedient servants, 

" Lambebt & Lee. 

" Dr Wilmot." 

The late Mr Foljambe ! His kind old friend, then, was 
dead ! Again and again he read the letter before he realized 
to himself the information conveyed in that one sentence : 
the late Mr Poljambe — pressing matters awaiting his direc- 
tions. Wilmot could not make out what it meant. That 
Mr Foljambe was dead he understood perfectly ; but why 
the death should be thus officially communicated to him, 
why the old gentleman's lawyers should express a hope that 
he would approve of their proceedings, and a desire that he 
should at once return to London, was to him perfectly inex- 

v 2 


plicable, unless — but the idea which arose in his mind was 
too preposterous, and he dismissed it at once. 

In the course of his reflections his eyes fell upon the en- 
closure which had fallen from the letter to the ground. He 
picked it up, and at a glance saw that it was a note addressed 
to him in his friend's well-known clear handwriting — clearer 
indeed and firmer than it had been of late. He opened it at 
once ; and on opening it the first thing which struck bim 
was, that it was dated more than twelve months previously. 
It ran thus : 

" Portland-place, 

" My dear Chudleigh, — A smart young gentleman, 
with mock-diamond studs in his rather dirty shirt, and a 
large signet-ring on his very dirty hand, has just been wit- 
nessing my signature to the last important document which 
I shall ever sign — my will — and has borne that document 
away with him in triumph, and a hansom cab, which his 
masters will duly charge to my account. I shall send this 
letter humbly by the penny post, to be put aside with that 
great parchment, and to be delivered to you after my death. 
In all human probability you will be by my bedside when 
that event occurs, but I may not have either the opportunity 
or the strength to say to you what I should wish you to 
know from myself; so I write it here. My dear boy, Chud- 
leigh— boy to me, son of my old friend— when I told your 
father I would look after your future, I made up my mind 
to do exactly what I have done by my signature ten minutes 
ago. I knew I should never marry, and I determined that 
all my fortune should go to you. By the document (the 
young man in the jewelry would call it a document)— by the 
document just executed, you inherit every thin** I have in 
the world, and are only asked to pay some legacies to a few 
old servants. Take it, my dear Chudleigh, and enjoy it. 
That you will make a good use of it, I am sure. I leave you 
entirely free and unfettered as to its disposal and I have 

AT our minister's. 293 

only two suggestions to make— mind, they are suggestions, 
and not requirements. In the first place, I should be glad 
if you would keep on and live in my house in Portland-placo 
— it has been a pleasant home to me for many years ; and I 
do not think my ghost would rest easily if, on a revisit to 
the glimpses of the moon, he should find the old place 
peopled with strangers. It has never known a lady's care — 
at least during my tenure — but under Mrs "Wilmot's doubt- 
less good taste, and the aptitude which all women have for 
making the best of things, I feel assured that the rooms will 
present a safficiently brave appearance. The other request 
is, that you should retire from the active practice' of your 
profession. There ! I intended to arrive at this horrible an- 
nouncement after a long round of set phrases and subtle 
argument ; but I have come upon it at once. I do not want 
you, my dear Chudleigh, entirely to renounce those studies 
or the exercise of that talent in which I know you take the 
greatest delight ; on the contrary, my idea in this suggestion 
is, that your brains and experience should be even more 
valuable to your fellow-creatures than they are now. I want 
you to be what the young men of the present day call a 
' swell ' in your line. I don't want you to refuse to give the 
benefit of your experience in consultation ; what I wish is to 
think that you will be free — be your own master — and no 
longer be at the beck and call of every one ; and if any lady 
has the finger-ache, or M. le Nbuveau Eiche has over-eaten 
himself, and sends for you, that you will be in a position to 
say you are engaged, and cannot come. 

" If some of our friends could see this letter, they would 
laugh, and say that old Foljambe was selfish and eccentric to 
the last ; he has had the advantage of this man's abilities 
throughout his own illnesses, and now he leaves him his 
■ money on condition that he sha'n't cure any one else ! But 
you kuow me too well, my dear Chudleigh, to impute any- 
thing of this kind to me. The fact is, I think you're doiug 


too much, working too hard, giving up too much time and 
labour and life to your profession. Tou cannot carry on at 
the pace you've been going; and believe an old fellow who 
has enjoyed every hour of* his existence, life has ^something 
better than the renom gained from attending crabbed valetu- 
dinarians. What that something is, my dear boy, is for you 
now to find out. I have done my possible towards realizing 
it for you. 

" And now, God bless you, my dear Chudleigh ! I have 
no other request to make. To any other man I should have 
said, ' Don't let the tombstone-men outside the ' cemetery 
persuade you into any elaborate inscription in commemora- 
tion of my virtues. ' Here lies John Foljambe, aged 72,' is 
all I require. But I know your good sense too well to 
suspect you of any such iniquity. Again, God bless you ! 
" Your affectionate old friend, 

" John Foljambe." 

Tears stood in "Wilmot's eyes as he laid aside the old 
gentleman's characteristic epistle. He took it up again after 
a pause and looked at the date, Twelve months ago ! What 
a change in his life during that twelve months ! Two allusions 
in the letter had made him wince deeply — the mention of 
his wife, the suggestion that undoubtedly he would be at the 
death-bed of his benefactor. Twelve months ago ! He did 
not know the Kilsyths then, was unaware of their very ex- 
istence. If he had never made that acquaintance ; if he had 
never seen Madeleine Kilsyth, might not Mabel have been 
alive now? might he not — Whittaker was a fool in such 
matters — might he not have been able once more to carry 
his old friend successfully through the attack to which he 
now had succumbed ? Were they all right — his dead wife, 
Henrietta Prendergast, the still small voice that spoke to 
him in the dead watches of the night ? Had that memorable 
visit had such a baleful effect on his career ? was it from his 

AT our minister's. 295 

introduction to Madeleine Kilsyth that he was to date all 
his troubles ? 

His introduction to Madeleine Kilsyth ! Ah, under what 
a new aspect she now appeared ! Chudleigh Wilmot knew 
the London world sufficiently to be aware of the very differ- 
ent reception which he would get from it now, how inconve- 
nient matters would be forgotten or hushed over, and how 
the heir of the rich and 'eccentric Mr Foljambe would begin 
life anew ; the doctrine of metempsychosis having been 
thoroughly carried out, and the body of the physician from 
which the new soul had sprung having been conveyed into 
the outer darkness of forgetfulness. True, some might re- 
member how Mr Wilmot, when he was in practice — so 
honourable of him to maintain himself by his talents, you 
know, and really considerable talents, and all that kind of 
thing — and before he succeeded to his present large fortune, 
had attended Miss Kilsyth up at their place in the High- 
lands, and brought her through a dangerous illness, doa't 
you know, and tbat made the affair positively romantic, you 
see ! — Bah ! To Eonald Kilsyth himself the proposition 
would be sufficiently acceptable now. The Captain had 
stood out, intelligibly enough, fearing the misunderstanding 
of the world ; but all that misunderstanding would be set 
aside when the world saw that an eligible suitor had proposed 
for one of its marriageable girls, more especially when the 
eligible couple kept a good house and a liberal table, an(* 
entertained as befitted their position in society. 

Wilmot had pondered over this new position with a 
curled lip ; but his feelings softened marvellously, and his 
heart bounded within him, as his thoughts turned towards 
Madeleine herself. Ah, if he had only rightly interpreted 
that dropped glance, that heightened colour, that confused 
yet trusting manner in the interview in the drawing-room ! 
Ah, if he had but read aright the secret of that childish 
trusting heart! Madeleine, his love, his life, his wifc^ 


Madeleine, with all the advantages of her own birth, the 
wealth which had now accrued to him, and the respect which 
his position had gained for him ! — could anything be better ? 
He had seen how men in society were courted, and flattered, 
and made much of for their wealth alone, — dolts, coarse, 
ignorant, brainless, mannerless savages ; and he — now he 
could rival them in wealth, and excel them — ah, how far 
excel them ! — in all other desirable qualities ! 

Madeleine his own, his wife ! The dark cloud which had 
settled down upon him for so long a time rolled away like a 
mist and vanished from his sight. Once more his pulse 
bounded freely within him ; once more he looked with keen 
clear eyes upon life, and owned the sweet aptitude of being. 
He laughed aloud and scornfully as he remembered how 
recently he had pictured to himself as pleasant, as endurable, 
a future which was now naught but the merest vegetation. 
To live abroad! Tes, but not solitary and self-contained; 
not pottering on in a miserable German town, droning 
through existence in the company of a few old savans ! 
Life abroad with Madeleine for a few months in the year 
perhaps — the wretched winter months, when England was 
detestable, and when he would take her to brighter climes — 
to the Mediterranean, to Cannes, Naples, Algiers it may be, 
Avhere the soft climate and his ever-watchful attention and 
skill would enable her to shake off the spell of the disease 
which then oppressed her. 

He would return at once — to Madeleine ! Those dull 
lawyers in their foggy den in Lincoln's-inn little knew how 
soon he would obey their mandate, or what was the motive- 
power which induced his obedience. In his life he had never 
felt so happy. He laughed aloud. He clapped the astonished 
waiter, who had hitherto looked upon the Herr En°lander 
as the most miserable of his melancholy nation on the 
shoulder, and bade him send his passport to the Embassy to 
be vised, and prepare for his departure. No ; he would go 

AT our minister's. 297 

himself to the Embassy. He was so full of radiant happiness 
that he must find some outlet for it ; and he remembered 
that he had made the acquaintance of a young gentleman, 
son of one of his aristocratic London patients, who was an 
attache to our minister. He would himself go to the Em- 
bassy, see the boy, and offer to do any mission for him in 
England, to convey anything to his mother. The waiter 
smiled, foreseeing in his guest's happiness a good trinlcgeld 
for himself ; gentlemen usually sent their passports by the 
liauskncclit, but the Herr could go if he wished it — of course 
he could go ! 

So Wilmot started off with his passport in his pocket. 
The sober-going citizens stared as they met, and turned 
round to stare after the eager rushing Englishman. He 
never heeded them ; he pushed on ; he reached the Embassy, 
and asked for his young friend Mr "Walsingham, and chafed 
and fumed and stamped about the room in which he was left 
while Mr "Walsingham was being sought for. At length Mr 
"Walsingham arrived. He was glad to see Dr Wilmot ; 
thanks for his offer ! . He would intrude upon him so far as 
to ask him to convey a parcel to Lady Caroline. Visa ? 
Oh, ah! that wasn't in his department; but if Dr "Wilmot 
would give him the passport, he'd see it put all right. "Would 
Dr "Wilmot excuse him for a few moments while he did so, 
and would he like to look at last Monday's Post, which had 
just arrived ? 

"Wilmot sat himself down and took up the paper. He turned 
it vaguely to and fro, glancing rapidly and uninterestedly at 
its news. At length his eye hit upon a paragraph headed 
" Marriage in High Life." He passed it, but finding nothing 
to interest him, turned back to it again; and there he read : 

" On the 13th instant, at St George's, Hanover- square, 
by the Lord Bishop of Boscastle, Madeleine, eldest daughter 
of Kilsyth of Kilsyth, to Eamsay Caird, Esq., of Dunnslog- 
gan, N.B." 


"When Mr "Walsingham returned with the passport ho 
found his visitor had fainted. ! 



Fainted ! a preposterous thing for a big strong man to 
^.o ! Painted, as though he had been a school-girl, or 'a deli- 
cate miss, or a romantic woman troubled with nerves. Mr 
Walsingham did not understand it at all. He rang the bell, 
and told the servant to get some water and some brandy, 
and something — the right sort of thing ; and he picked up 
"Wilmot' s head, which was gravitating towards the floor, and 
he bade him " Hold up, my good fellow! " and then he let 
his friend's head fall, and gazed at him with extreme be- 
wilderment. He was unused to this kind of performance 
was Mr "Walsingham, and felt himself eminently helpless and 
ridiculous. "When the water and the brandy were brought, 
he administered a handful of the former externally, and a 
wine-glassful of the latter internally ; and "Wilmot revived, 
very white and trembling and dazed and vacant-looking. So 
soon as he could gather where he was, and what had occurred, 
he made his apologies to Mr "Walsingham, and begged he 
would add to the kindness he had already shown by sending 
for a cab, and by allowing him to borrow the newspaper 
which he had been reading at the time of the attack ; it 
should be carefully returned that afternoon. Mr "Walsing- 
ham, who. was the soul of politeness, agreed to each of these 
requests ; the cab was fetched, and "Wilmot, with many thanks 
to his young friend, and with the packet for his young friend's 
mother, his own passport, and the Morning Post in his 
pocket, went away in it. Mr "Walsingham, who regarded 


this little episode in his monotonous life as quite an adven- 
ture, waxed very eloquent upon the subject afterwards to his 
friends, and made it his stock story for several days. " Doosid 
awkward," he used to say, "to have a fellow, don't you 
know, who you don't know, don't you know, gone off into 
fits, and all that kind of thing ! Here, too, of all places in 
the world ! If he'd gone off in my rooms, you know, it 
wouldn't so much have mattered ; but here, where old Blow- 
hard" — for by this epithet Mr "Walsingham designated Sir 
Hercules Shandon, K.P., Her Britannic Majesty's Minister 
at the Court of Prussia — " where old Blowhard might have 
come in at any moment, don't you know, it might have been 
devilish unpleasant for a fellow. "What he wanted with the 
Post I can't make out. I've looked through every column 
of it since he sent it back, but I can't find anything likely to 
upset a fellow like that. I thought at first he must have 
been sinking his fees in some city company that had bust-up, 
but there's no such thing in the paper; or that he'd read of 
some chap being poisoned in mistake, and that had come 
home to him, but there's nothing about that either. I can't 
make it out. — I say, Tollemache, do you see that Miss Kil- 
syth's married ? Married to Caird, that good-looking fellow 
that 'always used to be there at Brook-street — tame cat in 
the house — and that used to — you know — Adalbert Villa, 
Omicron-road, eh ? Sell for you, old boy ; you were very 
hard hit in that quarter, weren't you, Tolly ? " 

So Chudleigh Wilmot went back to his hotel in the cab ; 
and the friendly waiter, who had seen him depart so full of 
life and joyousness, had to help him up the steps, and thought 
within himself that the great English doctor would have to 
seek the assistance of other members of his craft. But no 
bodily illness had struck down Chudleigh Wilmot ; he had 
not recovered his full strength, and the shock to his nerves 
had been a little too strong — that was all. So soon as he 
found himself alone, after refusing the friendly waiters oner 


of sending for a physician, of getting him restoratives of a 
kind which came specially within the resources of the Hotel 
de Eussie, such as a roast chicken and a bottle of sparkling 
Moselle, and after dispensing with all further assistance or 
companionship, "Wilmot locked the door of his room, and sat 
down at the table with the newspaper spread open before 
him. He read the paragraph again and again, with an odd 
sort of bewildering wonderment that it remained the same, 
and did not change before his eyes. No doubt about what 
it expressed — none. Madeleine Kilsyth, who had been 
worshipped by him for months past, and with whom as his 
companion he was looking forward to pass his future, was 
married to another man — that last fact was expressed in so 
many words. It was all over now, the hope, and the fear, 
and the longing ; there was an end to it all. If he had only 
known this three months ago, what an agony of heart-sick- 
ness, of dull despair, of transient hope, of wearying feverish 
longing he had been spared ! She was gone, then, so far as 
he was concerned — taken from him ; the one star that had 
glimmered on his dark lonely path was quenched, and hence- 
forward he was to stumble through life in darkness as best 
he might. That was a cruel trick of Fortune's, a wretched 
cruel trick, to keep him back in his pursuit, to throw ob- 
stacles of every kind in his way, but all the time to let him 
see his love at the end of the avenue, as he thought, beckon- 
ing to him to overcome them all, to make his way to her, and 
carry her off in spite of all opposition ; then for all the ob- 
stacles to melt away, for him to have nought to do but gain 
the temple unopposed ; and when he succeeded in gaining 
it, for the doors to be open, the shrine abandoned, the divinity 

Hard fate indeed ! hard, hard fate ! But it was not to 
b*e. His dead wife had said it ; Henrietta Prendergast had 
said it : it was not to be. For him no woman's love, no 
happy home, no congenial spirit to share his thoughts, his 


ambition, his success. IIo sighed as he thought of this, with 
additional sadness as he remembered that if Henrietta Pren- 
dergast's story were truo, all this had been his. Such a 
companion he had had, had never appreciated, and had lost. 
He had entertained an angel unawares, and he was never to 
have the chance again. For him a drear blank future — ■ 
blank save when remorse for the probable fate of the woman 
who had died loving him, regret for the loss of the woman he 
had loved, should goad iaoi into new scenes of fresh action. 
Madeleine married ! Was then his fancy that she, that 
Madeleine, during that interview in the drawing-room in 
Brook-street, had manifested an interest in him different 
from that which she had previously shown, a mere delusion ? 
Had he been so far led away by his vanity as to mistake for 
something akin to his own feeling the mere gratitude which 
the young girl felt towards her physician ? "Was she, indeed, 
" his grateful patient," and no more ? "Wilmot's heart sank 
within him, and his cheeks burned, as this view of the sub- 
ject presented itself to his mind. Had he, professing to be 
skilled in psychology, committed this egregious blunder? 
Had he, who was supposed to know what people really were 
when they had put off the mummeries which they played 
before the world, and when they had laid by their face- 
makings and their posturings and their society antics, and 
revealed to their physician perforce what no one else was 
allowed to see — had he been deceived in his character study 
of one who to him was a mere child ? The very suddenness 
of the inspiration had led him to believe in its truth. Until 
that moment, just before that savage brother of hers had 
burst in upon them, he had acknowledged to himself the 
existence of his own passion indeed, but had struggled 
against it, fully believing it to be unreciprocated, fully be- 
lieving in the mere gratitude and respe.ct which — as it now 
seemed — were the sole feelings by which Madeleine had been 
animated. But surely that day, in her downcast eyes and in 


her fleeting blush, he had recognized A new idea, which 

rushed through his mind like a flash of light, illumining his 
soul with a ray of hope. Had this been a forced marriage ? 
Had she been compelled by her brother, her father, Lady 
Muriel — God knows who — to accept this alliance ? Had it 
been carried out against her own free will ? Had his absence 
from England been made the pretext for urging her on to 
it ? Had that been shown to her as a sign of the mistake 
she had made in supposing that he, Wilmot, cared for her at 
all ? He had never been so near the truth as now, and yet 
he scouted the notion more quickly than any of the others 
which he discussed within himself. Such a thing, was im- 
possible. The idea of a girl being forced to marry against 
her will, of her judgment being warped, and the truth per- 
verted for the sake of warping that judgment, was incom- 
prehensible to a man like "Wilmot — man of the world in so 
many phases of his character, but of childlike simplicity in 
others. He had heard of such things as the stock-in-trade 
of the novelist, but in real life they did not exist. Mam- 
mon-matches, forced marriages, diabolical torturings of fact 
— all these various combinations, neatly dovetailed together, 
filled the shelves of the circulating library, but were laughed 
to scorn by all sensible persons when they professed to be 
accurate representations of what takes place in the every- 
day life of society. 

Besides, if it were so, the mischief was done, and he was 
all powerless to counteract it. The marriage had taken 
place ; there was an end of it. It could be undone by no 
word or deed of his. The times were changed from the old 
days when a sharp sword and a swift steed could nullify the 
priest's blessing, and leave the brave gallant and the un- 
willing bride to be " happy ever after." He was no young 
Lochinvar, to swim streams and scour countries, to dance 
but one measure, drink one cup of wine, and bolt with the 
lady on his saddle-croup. He was a sober, middle-aged 


man, who must get back to England by the mail-train and 
the packet-boat ; and when he got there — well, make his 
bow to the bride and bridegroom, and congratulate them on 
the happy event. It was all over. His turn in the wheel 
of Fortune had arrived too late ; the bequest which his good 
old friend had secured to him, had it come two months 
earlier, might have insured his happiness for life : as it was, 
it left him where it found him, so far as his great object in 
life, so far as Madeleine Kilsyth, was concerned. 

Another long pause for reflection, a prolonged pacing 
up and down the room, revolving all the circumstances in 
his mind. Was his whole life bound up in this young girl? 
did his whole future so entirely hang upon her ? Here 
was he in his prime, with fame such as few men ever at- 
tained to, with fortune newly accruing to him — large for- 
tune, leaving him his own master to do as he liked, free, 
unfettered, with no ties and no responsibilities ; and was 
he to give up this splendid position, or, not giving it up, 
to forego its advantages, to let its gold turn into withered 
leaves and its fruits into Dead-Sea apples, because a girl, 
of whose existence he had been ignorant twelve months 
before, preferred to accept a husband of her choice, of her 
rank, of her family connection, rather than await in maid- 
enhood a declaration of his hitherto unspoken love ? He was 
pining under his solitude, the want of being appreciated, 
the lack of some one to confide in, to cherish, to educate, to 
love. Was his choice so circumscribed by fate that there 
was only one person in the world to fulfil all these require- 
ments? Was it preordained that he must either win 
Madeleine Kilsyth or pass the remainder of his days help- 
lessly, hopelessly celibate ? Was his heart so formed as to 
be capable of the reception of this one individual and none 
other, to be impressionable by her and her alone ? His 
pride revolted at the idea ; and when a man's pride under- 
takes the task of combating his passion, the struggle is 


likely to be a severe one, and none can tell on which side 
the victory may lie. 

He would test it, at all events, and test it at once. The 
kind old man now gone to his rest had hoped that the for- 
tune which he had bequeathed might be of service to the 
son of his old friend " and to Mrs "Wilmot ; " and why 
should it not, although Mrs "Wilmot might not be the per- 
son whom Mr Eoljambe had intended, lor, as Chudleigh 
had madly hoped on reading his benefactor's letter, Made- 
leine Kilsyth ? He would go back to England at once ; he 
would show these people that — even if they entertained the 
idea which had been so plainly set before him by Eonald 
Kilsyth' — be was not the man to sink under an injury, how- 
ever much he might suffer under an injustice. " Love flows 
like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide," so far he would say 
to them with Lochinvar ; they should not imagine that he 
was going to pine away the remainder of his life miserably 
because Miss Kilsyth had chosen to marry some one else. 
He had been a fool, a weak pliable fool, to make such a state- 
ment as he had done in that interview with Eouald Kilsyth. 
His cheeks tingled with shame as he remembered how he 
had confessed the passion which he had nurtured, and which 
he acknowledged beset him even at the time of speaking. 
And that cool, calculating young man, with his cursed 
priggish, pedantic airs, his lack of anything approaching 
enthusiasm, and his would-be frank manner, was doubtless 
at that moment grinning to himself at the successful result 
of his calm diplomacy. Chudleigh "Wilmot stamped his 
foot on the floor and ground his teeth in the impotence of 
his rage. 

Married to Eamsay Caird, eh ? Eamsay Caird ! "Well, 
they had not made such a great catch after all ! To hear 
them talk, to see the state they kept up at Kilsyth, to 
listen to or look at my Lady Muriel, one would have 
thought that an earl, with half England in estates at his 


back, was the lowest they would have stooped to for their 
daughier'w husband. And now she was married to an 
untitled Scotchman, without money, and — well, if ho re- 
membered club-gossip aright, rather a loose fish. Had not 
Captain Kilsyth been a little too hurried in the clinching 
of the nail, in the completion of the bargain ? As Mr Eol- 
jambe's heir, he, Chudleigh Wilmot, would have been worth 
a dozen such men as Eamsay Caird ; and as to the question 
of former intimacy, of acquaintance formed during his 
wife's lifetime, the world would have forgotten that speedily 

He would go back to England at once, but when there 
he would show them he was not the kind of man which, 
from Ronald Kilsyth's behaviour, that family apparently 
imagined him. Still the border song rang in his head — 

" There were maidens in Scotland more lovely by far 
Would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar." 

Not more lovely, and probably never to be anything like so 
dear to him ; but there were other maidens in England 
besides Madeleine Kilsyth. And why should the remain- 
der of his life be to him utterly desolate because this girl 
either did not love him, or, loving him, was weak enough 
to yield to the interference of others ? Was he to pine in 
solitude, to renounce all the pleasures of wifely companion- 
ship, to^remain, as he had hitherto been, self-contained and 
solitary, because he had placed his affections unworthily, 
and they had not been understood, or cast aside ? No ; he 
had existed, he had vegetated long enough ; henceforward 
he would live. Wealth and fame were his ; he was not yet 
too old to inspire affection or to requite it ; by his old 
friend's death he had obtained an additional claim upon 
society, which even previously was willing enough to wel- 
come him ; he should have the entree almost where he 
chose, and he would avail himself of the privilege. So 



thus it stood. Clmdleigli Wilmot left London broken- 
hearted at having to give up his love, and full of remorse 
for a crime, not of his commission indeed, but which he 
imagined had arisen out of his own egotism and selfish pre- 
occupation. He was about to start on his return, with 
stung sensibility and wounded pride — feelings which ren- 
dered him hostile rather than pitying towards the woman 
to whom he had imagined himself sentimentally attached, 
and which had completely obliterated and driven into 
oblivion all symptoms of his remorse. 

He wrote a hurried line to Messrs Lambert and Lee, 
informing them of his satisfaction with their proceedings 
hitherto, and notifying his immediate return ; and he told 
the friendly waiter that he should start by that night's 
mail, and get as far as Hanover. But this the friendly 
waiter would not hear of. The Herr Doctor must know 
perfectly well — for had not he, the friendly waiter, heard 
the German doctors speak of the English doctor's learn- 
ing ? — that he was in no condition to travel that night. If 
he, the friendly waiter, might in his turn prescribe for the 
English doctor, he should say, " Wait here to-night ; dine, 
not at the table d'hote, where there is hurry and confusion, 
but in the smaller speise-saal, where you usually breakfast ; 
and the cook shall be instructed to send up to you of his 
very best ; and the Herr Oberkellner, a great man, but to 
be come over by tact, and specially kind in cases of illness, 
shall be persuaded to go to the cellar and fetch you Johan- 
nisberg — not that Zeltinger or Marcobrimner, which, under 
the name of Johannisberg, they sell to you in England, but 

real Johannisberg, of Prince Metternich's own vintage 

pfa ! " and the friendly waiter kissed his own fingers, and 
then tossed them into the air as a loving tribute to the 
excellence of the costly drink. 

So Wilmot, knowing that there was truth in all the 
man had said ; feeling that he was not strong, and that 


what little strength he had had gone out of him under the 
ordeal of the morning at the Embassy, gave way, and con- 
sented to remain that night. But the next morning ho 
started on his journey, and on the evening of the third day 
he arrived in London. He drove straight to his house in 
Charles-street, and saw at once by the expression of his 
servant's face that the news of his inheritance had preceded 
him. There was a struggle between solemnity and mirth 
on the man's countenance that betrayed him at once. The 
man said he expected his master back, was not in the least 
surprised at his coming; indeed most people seemed to 
have expected him before. "What did he mean ? Oh, nothing 
— nothing ; only there had been an uncommon number of 
callers within the last few days. " Not merely" the reg'- 
lars," the man added; "them of course; but there have 
been many people as we have not seen here these two years 
past a rat-tat-tin', and leavin' reg'lar packs of cards, with 
their kind regards, and to know how you were, sir." The 
cards were brought, and Wilmot looked through them. 
The man was right ; scores of his old acquaintance, whom 
he had not seen or heard of for years, were there repre- 
sented ; people whom he had only known professionally, 
and who had never been near him since he wrote their last 
prescription and took their lastfeemonths before, had sought 
him out again. To what could this be accredited ? Either 
to the earnest desire of all who knew him to console him in 
the affliction of having lost his friend, or to the information 
sown broadcast by that diligent contributor to the Illus- 
trated News, who had given exact particulars of the will of 
the late John Eoljambe, Esq., banker, of Lombard-street 
and Portland-place. But there was no card from any 
member of the Kilsyth family in the collection. "Wilmot 
searched eagerly for one, but there was none there. 

He had a hurried meal — hurried, not because he had 

anything to do and wanted to get through with it, but be- 



cause he had no appetite, and what was placed before him 
was tasteless and untempting — and sat himself down in his 
old writing-chair in his consulting-room to ponder over his 
past and his future. He should leave that house ; he must. 
Though Mr Poljambe had made no binding requirement, th6 
expression of his wish was enough. "Wilmot must leave 
that house, and obey his benefactor's behests by taking up 
his residence in Portland-place. He had never thought 
much of it before, but now he felt that he loved the place 
in which so much of his life had been passed, and felt very 
loth to leave it. He recollected when he had first moved 
into it, when his practice began to increase and his name 
began to be known. He remembered how his friends had 
said that it was necessary he should take up his position in 
a good West-end street, and how alarmed he was, when the 
lease was signed and the furniture — rather scanty and very 
poor, but made to look its best by Mabel's disposition and 
taste — had been moved in, lest he should be unable to pay 
the heavy rent. He recollected perfectly the first few 
patients who had come to see him there : some sent by old 
Eoljambe, some droppers-in from the adjacent military 
club, allured by the bright door-plate ; old gentlemen wish- 
ing to be young again, and young gentlemen in constitution 
rather more worn and debilitated than the oldest of the 
veterans. He remembered his delight when the first great 
person ever sent for him ; how he had treasured the note 
requesting his visit ; how he had gone to his club and slily 
looked up the family in the Peerage; and how when he 
first stood before Lady Hernshaw, and listened to her ac- 
count of her infant's feverish symptoms, he could, if he had 
been required, have gone through an examination in the 
origin and progress of the Hawke family, with the names 
of all the sons and daughters extant, and come out tri- 
umphantly. His well-loved books were ranged in due 
order on the walls round him; on the table before hiin 


stood the lamp by whoso light he had gathered and repro- 
duced that learning which had gained him his fame and his 
position. In that house all his early struggles had been 
gone through ; he remembered the first dinner-parties 
which had been given under Mabel's superintendence, her 
diffidence and fright, his nervousness and anxiety. And 
now that was all of the past ; Mabel had vanished for ever 
and aye ; and soon the old house and its belongings, its 
associations and traditions, would know him no more. 
What had he gained during those few years ? Fame, posi- 
tion, men's good word, the envy of his brother-professionals, 
and, recently, wealth. What had he lost ? Youth, spirit, 
energy, the at one time all-sufficing love of study and pro- 
gress in his science, content ; and, latterly, the day-spring 
of a new existence, the hope of a new world which had 
opened so fairly and so promisingly before him. The 
balance was on the per-contra side, after all. 

The fashionable journals found out his return (how, his 
servant of all men alone knew), and proclaimed it to the 
world at large. The world at large, consisting of the sub- 
scribers to the said fashionable journals, acknowledged the 
information, and the influx of cards was redoubled. Some 
of these performers of the card-trick lingered at the door, 
and entered into conversation with the presiding genius in 
black to whom their credentials were delivered. Whether 
the doctor were well, whether he intended continuing the 
practice of his profession, whether the rumour that he in- 
tended giving up that house and removing to Portland- 
place had any substantial foundation ; whether it were true 
that he, the presiding genius, was about to have a new 
mistress, a lady from abroad — for some even went so 
far as to make that inquiry — all these different points 
were put, haughtily, confidentially, jocosely, to the presiding 
genius of the street-door, and all were answered by him as 
best ho thought fit. Only one of the queries, tho last, had 


any influence on that great man. He fenced with it in 
public with all the coolness and the dexterity of an Angelo, 
hut in private, in the sacred confidence of the pantry en- 
gendered by the supper-beer, he was heard to declare that 
" the guv'nor knew better than that ; or that if he didn't, 
and thought to introduce furreners, with their scruin' 
ways, to sit at the 'ead of his table and give horders to 
them, he'd have to suit himself, and the sooner he knew 
that the better." 

Some of the callers on seeking admittance were admitted 
— among them Dr Whittaker. Perhaps amongst the large 
circle of Wilmot's acquaintances calling themselves Wilmot's 
friends, that eminent practitioner was the only one who had 
a direct and palpable feeling of annoyance at Wilmot's 

Dr Whittaker's originally good practice had been con- 
siderably amplified by the patients who, under "Wilmot's 
advice, had yielded themselves up to Dr Whittaker's direction 
during Wilmot's absence, and the substitute naturally looked 
with alarm upon the reappearance of the great original. So 
Dr Whittaker presented himself at an early date in Charles- 
street, and being admitted, had a long and, on his side at 
least, an earnest talk with his friend. After the state and 
condition of various of the leading patients had been discussed 
between them, Whittaker began to touch upon more 
dangerous, and to him more interesting, ground, and said, 
with an attempt at jocosity, — and Whittaker was a ponderous 
man, in whom humour was as natural and as easy as it might 
have been in Sir Isaac Newton, — 

" And now that I have given account of my stewardship, 
I suppose my business is ended, and all I have to do is to 
return my trust into the hands of him from whom I received 

He said this with a smile and a smirk, but with an anxious 
look in his eyes notwithstanding. 


" I don't clearly understand you," said Wilrnot. " If you 
mean to ask me whether I intend to take up my practice 
again, my answer is clear and distinct — No. If you wish to 
inquire whether those patients whom you have been attend- 
ing in my absence will continue to send for you, I am in no 
position to say. All I can say is, that if they send for me, I 
shall let them know that I have retired from the profession, 
and that you are taking my place." 

Dr Whittaker was in ecstasies. " Of course that is all I 
could expect," he replied ; " and I flatter myself that — hum ! 
ha ! well, a man does not boast of his own proceedings — ha ! 
Well then, and so what the little birds whispered is true, 

" I — I beg your pardon," said Wilmot absently — " the— 
the little birds— " 

" Cautious ! " murmured Dr Whittaker in his blandest 
tone — that tone which had such an influence with female 
patients — " we are quite right to be cautious ; but between 
friends one may refer to the little birds whichhave whispered," 
he continued with surprising unction, " that a certain friend 
of ours, whom the world delights to honour, has succeeded to 
wealth and station, and is about to exchange that struggle 
in which the — the, if I may so express it — the pulverem 
Olympicum is gathered, for a soft easy seat in the balcony, 
whence he can look on at the contention with a smiling 
conjux by his side." 

" Little birds have peculiar information, Whittaker, if 
they have been so communicative as all that," said Wilmot 
with a rather dreary smile ; " they^know more than I do, at 
all events." 

" Ha, ha ! my dear friend," said Whittaker, in a gushing 
transport of delight at the thought of his own good fortune ; 
" we are deep, very deep ; but we must allow a little insight 
into human affairs to others. Why did we fly from tho 
world, dear Bessy, to thee ? as the poet Moore, or Milton — 


I forget which — has it. "Why did we give up our practice, 
and hurry off so suddenly to foreign parts, hum ? " Dr 
Whittaker gave this last "hum" in his softest and most 
seductive tones, such tones as had never failed with a patient. 
But perhaps because Wilmot was not a patient, and was 
indeed versed in the behind-scenes mechanism of the profes- 
sion, it had no effect on him, and he merely said : " Not for 
the reason you name. Indeed, you never were further out 
in any surmise." 

" Is that really so ? " said Whittaker blandly. " Well, 
well, you surprise me ! It is only a fortnight since that I 
was discussing the subject at a house where you seem often 
spoken of, and I said I fully believed the report to be true." 

"And where was that, pray?" asked Wilmot, more for 
the sake of something to say than for any real interest he 
took in the matter. 

" Ah, by the way, you remind me ! I intended to speak 
to you about that case before you left. The young lady 
whom you attended in Scotland — where you were when poor 
Mrs Wilmot died, you know — " 

" In Scotland — where I was when — good God ! what do 
you mean ? " 

" Miss Kilsyth, you know. Well, you left her in charge 
of poor old Eowe as a special case, didn't you? Yes, I 
thought so. Well, the poor old gentleman got a frightful 
attack of bronchitis, and was compelled to go back to Torquay 
■ — don't think he'll last a month, poor old fellow ! — and 
before he went, he asked me to look after Miss Kilsyth. 
Thought she had phthisis — all nonsense, old-fashioned non- 
sense ; merely congestion, I'm sure. I've seen her half-a- 
dozen times ; and about a fortnight ago— yes, just before 
her intended marriage was announced — she's married since, 
you know — we were talking about you, and I mentioned 
this rumour, and — and we had a good laugh over your 


" It is a pity, Dr Whittaker," said Wilniot quivering 
with suppressed rage, " it is a pity ; and it is not the first 
time that it has been remarked, both professionally and 
socially, that you offer opinions and volunteer information 
on subjects of which you are profoundly ignorant. Good 

Just before the announcement of her intended marriage ! 
Had the vile nonsense talked by that idiot Whittaker had 
any influence in inducing her to take that step ? He thought 
of that a hundred times, coming at last to the conclusion — ■ 
what did it matter now ? The irrevocable step was taken. 
Ah, for him it was not to be ! His dead wife had said so — 
Henrietta Prendergast had said so. It was not to be ! 

What was to be was soon carried out according to his old 
friend's expressed wish. Wilmot removed from Charles- 
street to Portland-place, and materially changed his manner 
of life. All his old patients flocked round him directly his 
return was announced ; but, as he had promised Whittaker, 
he let it be understood that he had entirely retired from 
practice. He even declined to attend consultations, alleging 
as. an excuse that his health was delicate, and that for some 
time at least he required absolute repose. He had determined 
to take as much enjoyment out of life as he could find in it ; 
and that, truth to tell, was little enough. The growth and 
development of his love for Madeleine Kilsyth had lessened 
his thirst for knowledge and his desire for fame ; and when 
the fierce flames of that love had burned out, there was still 
enough fire in the ashes to wither up and destroy any other 
passion that might seek to occupy his heart. He tried to 
find relief for the dead weariness of spirit, the blank desola- 
tion always upon him, in society. He gathered around him 
brilliant men of all classes ; and " Wilmot' s dinners " were 
Boon spoken of a3 among the pleasantest bachelor reunions in 


London. He dined out at clubs, he joined men's dinner- 
parties ; but he resolutely declined to enter into ladies' 
society. The resolution which he had formed at the Berlin 
hotel of proving to the Kilsyth people that there were 
families equal to theirs into which he could be received, and 
girls equal to Madeleine who were willing to marry him, 
never was brought to the test. Many ladies no doubt asked 
their husbands about Wilmot ; but from the answers they 
received they regarded him as never likely to marry again ; 
and save from hearsay report, they had no opportunity of 

He went about constantly, rode on horseback a great deal, 
visited theatres, and sat with a melancholy face at nearly all 
the public exhibitions. The few persons who had sufficient 
interest in him to discuss the reason for this change attributed 
it to the impossibility of his ever recovering the shock of his 
wife's sudden death ; and he was quoted perpetually before 
many husbands, who sincerely wished they had the oppor- 
tunity of showing how they would conduct themselves under 
similar circumstances. So his life passed on, monotonous, 
blank, aimless, for about three weeks after his installation in 
Portland-place ; when one evening returning from a long 
ride round the western suburbs, as he turned his horse 
through the Albert-gate, he came full upon a carriage con- 
taining Lady Muriel and Madeleine. They were so close, 
that it was impossible to avoid a recognition. "Wilmot raised 
his hat mechanically, Lady Muriel gave him a chilling bow, 
and then turned rapidly to her companion. Madeleine 
turned dead white, and sank back as though she would have 
fainted; but Lady Muriel's look recalled her, and she re- 
covered herself in time to bow. Then they were gone. Not 
much hope in that, Chudleigh "Wilmot ! Not much chance 
of bridging that gulf which is fixed between you ! 



Mes Peejtdergast had heard of Chudleigh Wilrnot's 
accession to fortune before the news had reached that more 
than ever " rising " man. Though she was not among Mr 
Foljambe's intimates, and though that sprightly old gentle- 
man found less favour in her eyes than in those of most of 
his acquaintance, she knew when his illness commenced, when 
it had assumed a dangerous form ; and she was one of the 
earliest outsiders to learn its fatal and rapid termination. 
She was indebted for all this information to Dr Whittaker, 
whom she had assiduously cultivated, and who was very fond 
of talking of all and everything that nearly or remotely con- 
cerned Wilmot. The little professional jealousy which had 
sometimes interfered with Dr Whittaker's genuine and 
generally irrepressible admiration of the genius and the suc- 
cess of his confrere and superior had given way to the influ- 
ence of the superior's loftiness and liberality of mind ; and 
with Dr "Whittaker also there was, as old Mr Poljambe had 
said, on an occasion destined to affect many destinies, 
" nothing like Wilmot." 

Dr Whittaker was not aware that Mrs Prendergast 
valued his visits chiefly because they afforded her an oppor- 
tunity, which otherwise she could not have enjoyed, of 
hearing of Wilmot. She had too much tact to permit him 
to make any such mortifying discovery, and he had too 
much vanity to permit him to suspect the fact, except 
under extreme provocation. So Mrs Prendergast account- 
ed his visits as among her most .agreeable glimpses of 
society ; and he regarded her as one of the most sensible and 
unaffected women of his acquaintance. Thus, when Dr 
Whittaker's attendance on Mr Poljambe came to a close 



with the sprightly and debonnaire old gentleman's life, he 
brought the news to his friend in Cadogan-place, and they 
lamented together "Wilmot's untimely absence. But Dr 
Wbittaker had previously conveyed to Mrs Prendergast in- 
formation of another sort, which had largely influenced the 
feelings with which she heard of Mr Foljambe's death. 

It was the same welcome messenger who had brought 
her the tidings of Madeleine Kilsyth's marriage ; and never 
had he been more welcome, She had steadily persevered in 
denying to herself that the young Scotch girl could possibly 
count for anything, one way or another, in the matter in 
which she was so vividly interested ; but she had not suc- 
ceeded in feeling such complete conviction on the point as 
to render her indifferent to any occurrence which effectually 
disposed of that young lady before Wilmot's return. That 
he should have come back to London, to all the former 
prestige of his talent and success, with the new and bril- 
liant addition that he had acquired the whole of Mr Fol- 
jambe's large fortune, to find Madeleine Kilsyth unmarried, 
and to be brought upon an equality with her by the agency 
of his wealth, — this would not have appeared to Henrietta 
by any means desirable. The obstacles which the social 
pride of her relations might have opposed to & penchant for 
Wilmot on the part of Miss Kilsyth — and Mrs Prendergast 
had always felt instinctively that such & penchant, if it did 
not actually exist, would arise with opportunity — would be 
considerably modified, if not altogether removed, by "Wil- 
mot's becoming a rich man by other than professional 
means. Altogether there were many new sources of dan- 
ger to her project, which did not relax in its intensity and 
fixedness by time, silence, or leisure for consideration, in 
the possibility of Madeleine Kilsyth's being again brought 
within Wilmot's reach, which presented themselves very 
unpleasantly to the clear perception of Mrs Prendergast. 

" And so you had not heard of Miss Kilsyth's intended 


marriage at nil, knew nothing of it until after the event? " 
said Dr Whittaker, after he had imparted the intelligence 
to Mrs Prendergast. To him it was merely an item in the 
gossiping news of the day ; nor had he any suspicion that 
it was more to his hearer. 

" No ; I had not heard a word of it. And I wonder I 
had not, for I have seen Miss Charlton several times ; and 
I know Mrs M'Diarmid has been at their house frequently. 
She must have known all about it, and I can't fancy her 
knowing anything and not talking about it." 

" No," said Dr "Whittaker. " Eeserve is not her forte, 
good old lady. But they say — the omnipresent, omniscient, 
and indefinable they — that Miss Kilsyth expressly stipu- 
lated that the engagement was to be kept a profound secret. 
She is troubled, I understand, with rather more delicacy 
and modesty than most young ladies at present ; and she 
disliked the pointing and talking, the giggling and specu- 
lation which attend the appearance of an engaged young 
lady in what is politely called 'high life' on such occasions." 

"The engagement was not a long one, I suppose?" 
said Henrietta. 

" Only a few weeks, I understand. They say Lady 
Muriel Kilsyth was rather anxious to get her step- daughter 
off her hands — " 

" And into those of her not particularly rich cousin, I 
fancy," said Henrietta. Dr Whittaker laughed. 

"I daresay I shall hear a great deal about it at the 
Charltons'," she continued ; " I am going to dine there to- 
morrow. I know Mrs M'Diarmid will be there, and she 
will have plenty to tell, no doubt. I shall hear much more 
about the wedding than I shall care for." 

Mrs Prendergast dined at Mrs Charlton's on the follow- 
ing day, and she did hear a great deal about the wedding, 
which Mrs M'Diarmid was of opinion had not been quite 
worthy of the occasion either in style or in publicity, and 


whereat she could not say Madeleine had conducted herself 
altogether to her satisfaction. Not that she had been too 
emotional, or in the least bold in her manner, but she had 
taken it all so very quietly. 

" I assure you it was quite unnatural, in my opinion," 
said the old lady, with a homely heartiness of manner cal- 
culated to convert other people to her opinion too. " Made- 
leine was as quiet and as unconcerned as if it was somebody 
else's wedding, and not her own. She positively seemed 
to think more of little Maud's dress and appearance than 
of her own, and she was as friendly as possible with Mr 

"Friendly with Mr Caird, Mrs M'Diarmid!" said 
Henrietta. " Whyshould you be surprised at that ? Why 
should she not be friendly with him ? " 

" Well, I'm sure I don't know, my dear," answered Mrs 
M'Diarmid, who called every one ' my dear ; ' " it did seem 
odd to me somehow — there, I can't explain it ; and I dare- 
say I'm an old fool — very likely ; but they did seem more 
like friends to me, that is, Madeleine did, than lovers— 
that's the truth." 

Miss Charlton remarked to Mrs Prendergast, with a 
sentimental sigh, that she perfectly understood Mrs 
M'Diarmid, — that Miss Kilsyth's manner had had too little 
of the solemnity and exaltation of such a serious and im- 
portant event. " At such a moment, Henrietta," said the 
young lady, raising her fine eyes towards the ceiling, 
" earth and its restraints should fade, and the spirit be 
devoted to the heavenly temple, which is the true scene of 
the marriage." 

"All I can say, then," said Mrs M'Diarmid, by no means 
touched by the high-flown interpretation placed upon her 
remarks, " is, that if any one can be reminded of a heavenly 
temple by St George's, Hanover-square, they must have a 
lively imagination ; for a duller and heavier earthly one I 
never was in in my life." 


" I suppose the wedding-party was numerous ? " said 
Mrs Charlton, who never could endure anything like a 
verbal passage-at-arms ; and who was moreover occasionally 
beset by a misgiving that her daughter was rather silly. 

" Not what the Kilsyths would consider large, my dear ; 
only their immediate connections and a few very intimate 
friends. Miss Kilsyth would have it so ; and indeed the 
whole thing was got up in a hurry. It was announced in 
the Morning Post on Monday, and the marriage came off 
on "Wednesday." 

" I suppose the bride had some splendid presents ? " 
said Miss Charlton, whose curiosity was agreeably irre- 

" O yes, my dear, lots. Some beautiful and expensive ; 
some ugly and more expensive ; several cheap and pretty ; 
and a great many which could not possibly be of use to any 
rational being. Tou know Mr Eoljambe, don't you, Mrs 
Prendergast ? " 

"Yes," said Henrietta; "I know him slightly.-" 

" He is an old friend of Kilsyth's ; poor man, he's very 
ill indeed — could not come to the wedding because he was 
ill then, and he is much worse since ; he gave Madeleine 
the handsomest present of the lot — a beautiful set of pearls, 
and he sent her such a nice, kind, old-fashioned letter with 
them. He is a real old dear 3 though I always feel a little 
afraid of him somehow." 

" Is Mr Eoljambe really very ill ? " said Mrs Charlton. 

" I am sorry to say he is," said Henrietta ; " I saw Dr 
Whittaker to-day, and he gave a very bad account of him." 

" Dr Whittaker ? " said Mrs Charlton inquiringly. " I 
don't know him ; I — " 

" No," interrupted Henrietta with a smile ; " he is not 
yet famous ; he is only just beginning to be a rising man. 
He is a great friend of Dr Wilmot's, who, when he went 
abroad, placed several of his principal patients in his hands." 

As Henrietta mentioned Wilmot's name, she glanced 



keenly at Mrs M'Diarmid, and perceived at once that the 
mention of him produced an effect on the old lady of no 
pleasing kind. Her face became overcast in a moment. 

" I hope Mies Kilsyth's — I beg her pardon, Mrs Caird's 
health is sufficiently restored to make any such provision 
in her case unnecessary," said Henrietta to Mrs M'Diarmid 
in her best manner ; which was a very good manner indeed. 

"Yes, yes," the old lady said absently; then recovering 
herself, she continued, " Madeleine has been much better 
latterly; but Sir Saville Eowe has been looking after her. 
Dr Wilmot recommended her specially to his care." 

The conversation then turned on other matters, and 
did not again revert to the Kilsyths ; but Mrs Prendergast 
carried away with her from the substance of what had 
passed two convictions. 

The first, that "Wilmot had entertained sufficient feeling 
of some kind for Madeleine Kilsyth to render him averse 
to bringing her into contact with the man who attended 
his wife's' death -bed, and who might therefore have been in- 
conveniently communicative, or even suspicious. 

The second, that there was some painful impression or 
association in the kind, honest, and simple mind of Mrs 
M'Diarmid connected with Dr "Wilmot and Madeleine 

On that evening Mrs Prendergast settled the point, in 
consultation with herself, that Madeleine's marriage was 
an important advantage gained. How important, or pre- 
cisely why, she had no means of ascertaining, but she felt 
that it was so ; and she experienced a comfortable feeling, 
compounded of hope and content, at the occurrence. 

A week later Dr Whittaker called on Henrietta and 
communicated to her the intelligence of Mr Poljambe's 
death ; and in a few days later the accession of Wilmot to 
his faithful old friend's large fortune was made known to 
her in the same way. 


And now Henrietta felt the full importance of the re- 
moval of Madeleine Kilsyth from Wilmot's path. Ho 
would return to London of course — perhaps to abandon his 
professional pursuits, though that she thought an unlikely 
step on his part. His sphere of life would, however, cer- 
tainly be changed ; and the best chance for the success of 
her project would consist in her being able to induce him 
to form habits of intimacy and companionship with her 
before the increased demands of society upon him should 
whirl him away out of her reach. Even supposing, which 
she — though more capable than most women of taking a con- 
tingency which she disliked into sensible and serious con- 
sideration — did not think likely, that Dr Wilmot would 
contemplate a second marriage, and that marriage purely of 
affection, he would certainly return to London heart-whole. 
If Madeleine Kilsyth had indeed possessed for him attrac- 
tion which he could not disavow to himself, nor avow to the 
world, so much the better now as things had turned out. 
Madeleine would have held his fancy captive until such 
time as fate had set between them a second inviolable bar- 
rier ; and this new and keen disappointment, even sup- 
posing he had never distinctly formulated his hope, would 
have turned his heart, and brought him back irresistibly 
to the realities of life. 

Thus, knowing nothing of the actual circumstances of 
the case ; unaware of the twofold shock which Chudleigh 
"Wilmot had received by the events which she calmly re- 
garded as equally fortunate ; unconscious of the storm of 
passion, rage, grief, and helplessness in which Wilmot was 
wrapped and tossed, even while she was quietly discussing 
the matter with herself, Henrietta Prendergast arranged 
the present before her eyes, and questioned the future in 
her thoughts. But had she known all of which she was 
ignorant — had she been able to see Chudleigh Wilmot as 
he really was while she was thus thinking of him, the revela- 


tion would hardly have changed the current of her thoughts, 
though it might have robbed her of much of her composure. 
In that case she would have reflected that she had but mis- 
taken the quality and the depth of his feelings, that circum- 
stances remained unchanged. Wilmot had been passion- 
ately in love with Madeleine Kilsyth ; but he was now none 
the less certainly, irrevocably, and eternally separated from 

Thus, the facts which she knew, the facts which she 
guessed, and the facts which were effectually concealed from 
her, all bore encouragingly upon the projects of Henrietta 
Prendergast. It is only just to acknowledge that the in- 
crease to his wealth did not intensify or sharpen Mrs Pren- 
dergast's wish to marry "Wilmot ; indeed it rather depressed 
her. She felt that it might create new obstacles as strong as 
those which fate had removed ; she would have preferred his 
being in his former position. " If I could have won him as 
he was," she thought, " and then this fortune had come, that 
would have been, better. However, ever so poor he would 
have been a man worth winning ; it makes no difference in 
that respect his being ever so rich." 

After all, this appreciation, calm and passionless, yet 
just, clear-sighted, and true, was not a gift to be despised by 
a sensible man, who had had the gilding pretty nearly taken 
off the gingerbread of his life, but it was not likely to be 
valued as it deserved by a man pining desperately for the 
impossible love of a brilliant young beauty like Madeleine 

One immediate purpose which Henrietta set strongly 
before her was to see Wilmot as soon as possible after his 
return, of the time of which event she would be duly in- 
formed by Dr Whittaker. She had had no communication 
with him since the puzzling interview which had preceded 
his departure ; he had neither written nor gone to take leave 
of her ; but this omission, which would have been extremely 


discouraging to a less keen-sighted woman, was not discour- 
aging to Henrietta. She knew that, as far as she was con- 
cerned, it meant simply nothing. Wilmot was deeply dis- 
tressed and preoccupied ; that was the cause of it. She also 
knew that at present, in his life, she meant nothing, and she 
was satisfied, so that the future should afford her a fair op- 
portunity of coming to mean much. But she must attain 
and begin to profit by that opportunity as soon as possible 
— she must endeavour to anticipate other impressions ; and 
for this purpose she resolved to seek an interview with him 
immediately on his return. 

" I will write to him at once," she said to herself. " He 
has no reason to wish to avoid me ; and if he had, he would 
conquer it at an appeal made in the name of poor Mabel." 

And this strange yet matter-of-fact woman paused in 
the busy current of her thoughts and plans to bestow af- 
fectionate remembrance and true regret on her dead friend ! 
Henrietta Prendergast was neither inconsistent nor in- 

*Jf. Jf, JJ. M. 

-?S~ -7V* -it- -TV" 

" I hope you did not think me intrusive in asking you 
to call on me so soon," said Henrietta to Chudleigh Wilmot, 
when he had duly presented himself in answer to a note from 
her, which she had written on the day Dr "Whittaker had 
told her Wilmot had returned to London. 

"You have seen him, of course?" she had asked Dr 
"Whittaker. — " Yes, I have seen him. He looks extremely 
ill — wretchedly ill, in fact. As unlike a man who has just 
come in for a tremendous stroke of luck as any man I ever 
saw. I fancy he was more cut up about his wife's death 
than either you or I gave him credit for— eh, Mrs Prender- 

And now, holding Wilmot's hand in hers, and looking 
into his sunken eyes, marking his sallow cheek, the rigidity 
of the expression of his face, tho thinness of his hand, she 

Y 2 


thought that Dr Whittaker's first impressions were correct. 
He did look ill, wretchedly ill. He did indeed look little 
like a favourite of fortune. 

He assured her, very kindly, that her note had only fore- 
stalled his intention of calling upon her immediately, and 
apologized for his former omission. 

" I ought to have come to say good-bye," he said ; " bufe 

I could not indeed. I made no adieux possible to be avoided." 

" And have 'you benefited by your absence ? Have you 

gained health and spirits to enjoy the good fortune which has 

befallen you ? " 

She asked him these questions in a tone of more than 
conventional kindness ; but her face told him she read the 
answer in his. 

" I anfquite well," he said quickly ; " but perhaps I don't 
enjoy my good fortune very much. I am alone in the world. 
Mrs Prendergast ; and my fortune has been gained by the 
loss of the best friend I ever had in it." 

" Yes," she said thoughtfully, " that is very true. Poor 
Mr Poljambe ! He missed you very much ; but," she added, 
for she saw the painful expression of self-reproach which she 
had noticed in their first interview after Mabel's death settle 
down upon his face, " you must not grieve about that. He 
expressed the utmost confidence in Dr Whittaker." 

"I know — I know," said Wilmot. "Still I wish' — how- 
ever, that is but one of many far heavier griefs. I did not 
come to talk about my troubles," he said with a faint smile. 
" You had something to say to me — what is it ? Not only to 
congratulate me on being a rich man now that it is too late, 
I am sure." 

"It is not altogether too late, I think," said Henrietta 
in a low impressive voice ; " and I wanteH to speak to you 
of something connected alike with your grief and your 

" Indeed!" said "Wilmot in a tone of anxious surprise. 


"Yes," said Henrietta; "I did riot know how long or 
how short a time you might be within my reach ; and so I 
determined to lose no time in endeavouring to gain your as- 
sent to a wish of poor Mabel's." 

The conscious blood rushed into Wilmot's face. This, 
then, was the double connection of his present visit with his 
grief and his fortune. And he had not been thinking of 
Mabel ! His dead wife's friend believed him indifferent to 
the wealth that had come too late to be shared by her ; and 
except for the first sudden remembrance which the sight of 
Henrietta had produced, he had not thought of his dead wife 
at all. He thought of her now with keen remorse— keener 
because it had not occurred to him to think of her before, 
in connection with his wealth. Tes, the life which had had 
so dark an ending might have been very bright and prosper- 
ous now, with all this useless money to gild it. He shrunk 
from Mrs Prendergast's steady eyes with all the shame and 
uneasiness of a candid nature when given credit for motives 
or deeds superior to the truth. No vision of the dead face 
he had seen, awfully white and still, in his little loved home, 
had arisen to blot out the prospect of a future rich in all 
that wealth can give, to teach him how infinitely little is 
that all, how poor that richness ! But he carried about for 
ever between him and the sunshine a vision of a fair girlish 
face, with pleading innocent blue eyes, with golden hair and 
faintly flushing cheeks, with sweet sensitive lips, and over 
all a look which he knew well and interpreted only too ac- 
curately. And that face, it did not lie in a coffin indeed, 
but as far, as hopelessly away from [him — it lay on another 
man's breast. This was his grief; the other — well, the other 
was his shield from suspicion, from observation, his defence. 
He seized upon it, feeling unutterably the degradation of 
the evasion, and answered : 

"I will be more than grateful, Mrs Prendergast, if you 
can show me any way in which I can fulfil any wish i-f hers, 



If there is anything within the power of any effort of mine, 
let me know it." 

Then Henrietta, in her turn, putting the dead woman 
forward as a pretext, began to discuss with "Wilmot the pro- 
visions of a certain charitable institution, to which she knew 
it had been Mrs Wilmot's wish to contribute, but which she 
had not felt entitled by her means to assist. "Wilmot ac- 
ceded to all her suggestions with the utmost readiness, be- 
sought her to tax her memory for any other resource for 
doing honour to Mabel's memory, and prolonged his visit 
considerably beyond Henrietta's expectation. In her softened 
manner there was now no reproach, and her sense and calm- 
ness refreshed his jaded spirits. It was a relief to him to be 
in the company of a woman who did not expect him to be 
anything but sorrowful, and who yet had no suspicion of the 
cause and origin of his sorrow. So thought "Wilmot, as he 
left Henrietta, having asked her permission to call on her 
again speedily. 

And at the same moment Henrietta was thinking — ■ 
"He knows something of the torture of love unrequited 
and in vain now. It won't last, of course ; but for the pre- 
sent, if she could only know it, poor Mabel is avenged!" 



Me and Mrs Eamsay Caird lived, it is needless to say, 
in a fashionable quarter of the town. They could not have 
lived in any other. Their lot being essentially cast among 
fashionable people, it was necessary for them to reside 
somewhere within fashionable people's ken ; and that ken 
is, to say the least of it, limited. It is known to vul- 


garians and common persons that there are buildings beyond 
Oxford-street on the north side ; but it is not known to 
fashionable people. They, to be sure, know that some " old 
families " — aud this is said with an emphasis which conveys 
that the families in question are almost pre-Adamite in their 
age — reside in Portinan-square. The fashionable world al- 
lows this as a kind of old-world eccentricity, as it allows 
male members of said families to appear in the evening in 
blue tail-coats and brass buttons, and to swathe their necks 
in rolls of cravat, instead of donning the ordinary small tie. 
It is a respectable eccentricity ; but it is an eccentricity after 
all. North of Oxford-street is as much "the other side " to 
the fashionable world as is Suez to the Eastern travellers by 
the Peninsular and Oriental route. The fashionable world 
has heard of the big terraces of splendid mansions which 
Messrs Kelk and Austin have built in the Bayswater-road 
facing the Park ; they have seen them occasionally when 
they have been driving to Kensington-gardens ; they believe 
them to be inhabited by a respectable moneyed class ; but 
the idea of looking upon them as residences for themselves 
has never once struck them. These houses are such an 
enormous distance from " anywhere," which to the fashion- 
able world is bounded by Regent-circus on the east, Belgrave- 
square on the south, the Marble Arch on the west, and 
Oxford-street on' the north. 

It is possible that if the choice of district had been 
left to Madeleine herself, poor child, she, never particularly 
caring about such matters, and not being in a very critical 
or very argumentative state of mind at the period of her 
marriage, would have fixed upon some comfortable pleasant 
house, cheerful, roomy, airy, but in a wrong situation. If 
the choice had been left to her father, there is no doubt that 
he would have made some tremendous blunder of the like 
kind ; for Kilsyth when in London was always opening hia 
arms and expanding his chest and gasping for air. Accus- 


tomed to the free atmosphere of his native Highlands, the 
worthy gentleman suffered torture in the dull, dead, confined 
and vitiated air of the London street ; and amidst the many 
sufferings which he underwent for the sake of society during 
the few weeks when he remained in town was the martyrdom 
which he was put to in the tiny ill- ventilated rooms in which 
he had occasionally to dine or pass a ghastly half-hour " as- 
sisting" at a reception. But Lady Muriel and Mr Bamsay 
Caird took this matter in hand. Of their own express 
wish it was to them the task of selecting the residence of 
the about-to-be-married couple was to be confided ; and 
there was no doubt that they would take care that their 
choice should not be open to question. 

On Squab-street, Grosvenor-place, that choice fell. A 
curious street Squab-street ; a street in a progressive state ; 
a street which was feeling the immediate vicinity of Cubit- 
opolis, but which was yielding to the advancing conquest 
piecemeal and by slow degrees ; a street of small houses 
originally occupied by small people— doctors, clerks well-up 
in the West-end government offices, a barrister or two with 
fashionable proclivities, and several lodging-houses, always 
filled with good visitors from the coitntry or eligible regular 
tenants ; a quiet street, looked upon for many years as being 
a long way off, but suddenly awaking to find itself in the 
centre of fashion. For while the doctors had been paying 
their ordinary seven-and-sirpenny visits within what was 
then almost their suburban neighbourhood ;' while the West- 
end government-office clerks had been plodding to and fro 
from their offices ; while the barristers had been pluming 
themselves on the superiority of their position to that of 
their brethren, who, true to old tradition, had set up their 
Lares and Penates in the neighbourhood of Eussell-square 
and the Foundling Hospital ; while the lodging-house-keeper 
had vaunted as recommendations the quietude of the vicinity 
and the freshness of the air, the great district now known as 


Belgravia was being reclaimed from its native mud, the wild 
meadow called the Field of Forty Footsteps was being 
drained and built on, the desolate tract over which our 
ancestors pursued their torch-lighted way to Eanelagh and 
Vauxhall was being spanned by arches and undermined with 
gas-pipes ; and when all these grand improvements were 
complete, Squab-street, which had held a respectable but 
ignominious existence as Squab-street, Pimlico, blossomed 
out in the Post-Office Directory and the Court- Guide as 
Squab-street, S.W., and thenceforward emerged from its 
chrysalis^ state, and became a recognizable and appreciated 

The effect of the change on the street itself was imme- 
diate. Two or three leases fell in about that time, and the 
householders, in whose families the leases had been for a 
couple of generations, made no doubt of their renewal. 
Lord Battersea was the ground landlord — not a liberal man, 
not a generous man ; in short, a screw, and the driver of a 
hard bargain, but still a good landlord. He would be all 
right, of course. Would he ? When the leaseholders went 
to Lord Battersea's man of business, an apple-faced old gen- 
tleman with a white head and a kind of frosty wire for beard, 
they learned that his lordship had fully comprehended the 
change in the state of affairs in Squab-street, and was pre- 
pared to act accordingly. As each lease fell in, the house 
which was vacant was to be increased by a couple of stories, 
and to have its rent trebled. Squab-street was to be a fitting 
accessory to Grrosvenor-place. In vain the dispossessed ex- 
tenants declared that none of his lordship's then holders 
could pay the new rent : the apple-faced old gentleman was 
sorry ; but he thought his lordship could find plenty of 
tenants who would. The tenants grumbled ; but the man of 
business was firm. So were the tenants ; they yielded up 
their leases ; and so the houses were improved, and the rents 
were raised, and other tenants came of a class hitherto un- 


known to Squab-street. Married officers of the Guards, who 
found the situation convenient for "Wellington, and not in- 
convenient for Portman barracks ; members of parliament, 
who found it handy for the House ; railway engineers and 
contractors of fabulous wealth, who could skurry to and fro 
their offices in Great George-street ; and City magnates, who 
walked to "Westminster-bridge, and went humbly in to the 
Shrine of Mammon by the penny-boat. All these new- 
comers lived in the enlarged houses, gorgeous stucco-fronted 
edifices, with porticoes which looked as if they did not be- 
long to the house, but were leaning up against it by accident, 
and plate-glass windows and conservatories about the size of 
a market-gardener's hand-lights. 

Bat the other houses in Squab-street, the leases of which 
had not run out, remained in their normal condition, and 
were the same little brisk, cheery, cleanly, snug common 
brick edifices that they had been ever since they were built. 
The new style of buildings had grown up round about them, 
and was dotted here and there amongst them ; so that the 
range of houses in Squab-street looked like a row of uneven 
teeth. The original settlers, who at first had been rather 
overawed by the immigrants, had in time come to look upon 
their arrival as rather a benefit than otherwise; the doctors 
extended the number and the importance of their patients ; 
the government clerks bragged judiciously of the " swells " 
who lived in their street; and the lodging-house-keepers, 
secure with leases of many unexpired years, raised their 
prices season after season, and found plenty of fish to swal- 
low their hooks. 

The house which Lady Muriel and Eamsay Caird, after 
much driving about, worrying of house-agents, search of 
registers, obtaining of cards to view, and general soul-de- 
pression and leg-weariness, — the house which they eventually 
decided upon was represented in the sibylline books of the 
agent as an "eligible bachelor's residence, in that fashionable 


locality Squab-street, S.W " Such indeed it had been for 
several previous years ; the Honourable Peregrine Fluke, 
known generally as Fat Fluke, from his tendency to obesity, 
or Fishy Fluke, from a card transaction in which he had 
once been mixed up, having been its respected occupant. 
The Honourable Peregrine Fluke was a very eligible bachelor 
indeed, and led the life of the gay young fellow and the sad 
dog until he had passed sixty years of age. Then pale 
Death, knocking away with impartial rat-tat at the doors of 
all, the huts of the poor and the castellated turrets of kings, 
stopped at 122 Squab-street, and called for the Honourable 
Peregrine Fluke. The eligible bachelor succumbing to the 
summons, his executors came upon the scene ; and wishing 
to do the best for the lieutenant in the Marines, who was 
understood to be the eligible bachelor's nephew, but who was 
clearly proved to be his illegitimate son, put up the lease of 
the house — the only available thing belonging to the deceased 
— to auction, and found a purchaser in Kilsyth. Lady 
Muriel's clever tact also secured the furniture at a com- 
paratively cheap rate. It was not first-rate furniture — a 
little rococo and old-fashioned ; but a few things could be 
imported into the drawing-rooms ; and, after all, Ramsay and 
his wife were not rich people — young beginners, and that 
kind of thing, and the place would do very well to commence 
their married life in. Lady Muriel always spoke of " Eam- 
say and his wife " when any monetary question was under 
debate, ignoring utterly that all the money came from Made- 
leine's side. For not only was there Madeleine's twenty 
thousand pounds, but Kilsyth, when the marriage was 
settled, announced his intention of making the young couple 
such an allowance as would prevent his favourite child from 
missing any of the comforts, any of the luxuries, to which 
she had become accustomed. 

The situation was undoubtedly fashionable ; but that the 
house itself might have been more comfortable could not be 


denied. What was complimentarily called the hall, but was 
really the passage, was so small, that the enormous footmen, 
awaiting the descent of their employers from the little 
drawing-rooms above, dared not house themselves therein. 
Two of them would have filled it to overflowing ; so they 
were compelled either to remain with the carriages, or to 
run the chance of being out of the way when required, and 
solace themselves in the tap of the Battersea Arms, down 
the adjacent mews. The door was so small and so low, that 
these great creatures rubbed their cockades and ruffled their 
coats in passing through it. The house stood at the corner 
of the mews, and every vehicle that drove in or out caused 
an earthquake-like sensation as it passed. Doors creaked, 
china rocked, floors groaned, walls trembled. The little 
dining-room was like a red-flocked tank ; the little drawing- 
rooms, encumbered with the newly-imported extra furniture, 
were so choke-full, that it was with the utmost difficulty 
that visitors could thread their way between table and couch 
and ottoman and etagere. It required a knowledge of the 
science of navigation to tack round the piano ; and the 
visitor, when once he had reached a seat by the hostess near 
the fireplace, could scarcely devote himself to conversation, 
owing to the trouble which filled his mind as to how he 
would ever get away again. It was not advisable to open 
any of the side-windows, even in the hottest weather, or a 
stably odour at once pervaded the house, and the forcible 
language addressed by the grooms to the horses, whose 
toilet was performed in the open yard, was a little too 
audible. It was impossible for guests to go through the 
ceremony of "taking down" to dinner. The steep little 
ladder-like staircase was only passable by one person at a 
time ; and in the narrow little tank of a dining-room the 
people who sat with their backs to the fire were roasted 
alive, and had the additional pleasure of having to eat their 
meat vegetable-less and sauce-less, there being no approach 


to them and no passing them. Still every one said that the 
situation was delightful, and the house was " quite charm- 
ing; " and Lady Muriel and Ramsay Caird took great credit 
to themselves for having secured it. 

Madeleine herself was but little impressed by it. It 
was immaterial to her where she lived, or in what style of 
house. She shrugged her shoulders when they told her 
the rooms were charming ; she raised her eyebrows when 
her servants complained of darkness and inconvenience. 
'"'It did very well," was her highest commendation, and she 
never found fault. If this girl's life had not been strangely 
solitary and without companionship, she would have had 
all sorts of confidences to exchange with some half-dozen 
intimates as to her new life, her new home, her new career. 
As it was, she dropped into it quietly, with scarcely a 
remark to any one. After her little and short-lived day- 
dream had dissolved, after she had awakened to the exact 
realities which were about her, her period of suspense was 
very short. What passed between her and her brother 
Ronald at the interview '"which, as settled with Lady 
Muriel, he sought at his sister's hands was never known. 
The result was satisfactory to the prime movers in the 
scheme ; and the result was that Madeleine was to marry 
Ramsay Caird. There was another interview connected 
with the matter which neither Lady Muriel nor Ronald 
ever heard of. When the news was first announced to him 
by his wife, Kilsyth received it very quietly. The next 
morning, before my lady had risen, the fond father, in pur- 
suance of an appointment made in a note secretly sent up 
by the maid the night before, went to his darling's room, 
and had a half-hour's long and earnest conversation with 
her. Earnest on his side at all events : he asked her 
whether this engagement had been brought about of her 
own free will; if she had thought over it sufficiently; if 
she would wish the time of betrothal to be lengthened 


beyond the usual period ; if there were anything, in fact, 
in which she would wish to make reference to him, and in 
which he could aid her. To all these inquiries, urged in 
the warmest and most affectionate manner, he got but the 
same kind of reply. Madeleine kissed her father fondly. 
She hated the thought of leaving him, she said ; but it 
would do very well. It would do very well ! She had not 
even the heart to be deceitful — to feign delight when she 
did not feel it. It would do very well ! Kilsyth's warm 
heart beat more slowly as he listened to this lukewarm 
appreciation of the expected joys of his daughter's future; 
he scarcely comprehended anything so fade and so spirit- 
less from a young girl about to undergo such an important 
change in all the phases of her existence. He again 
pressed his question home, and received the same answer ; 
and then he made up his mind, for the thousandth time in 
his life, that women were extraordinary creatures, and that 
there was no dealing with them. This was a very favourite 
axiom of his, and had been enounced with much solemnity 
frequently. On this occasion, however, he kept silence, 
shaking his head in a very thoughtful and prophetic man- 
ner as he descended the stairs to his own dressing-room. 
It would do very well ! Madeleine thought of the reply 
which she had given to the most important question ever 
put to her, after her father had left her and when she was 
alone. She knew her father well enough to be certain that 
a word spoken at that time by her to him would have 
stopped the engagement, and left her free. And what 
would then have ensued ? She would have made an enemy 
of Lady Muriel, with whom she had to live ; she would 
have deeply annoyed Eonald, who had always, in 'his odd 
way, shown the greatest love for her and the keenest 
interest in her welfare ; and in the great question of her 
life she would have advanced not one whit. Chudleigh 
Wilmot was gone— gone for ever. An alliance— a con- 


tinuanco even of the friendship, such as it had been, with 
him was impossible ; her friends wanted her to marry 
Ramsay Caird. Well, then, it would do very well ! 

A phrase significant of a state of mind in which mar- 
riages arc often undertaken, but surely an unlucky and a 
pitiable state of mind. Something more than a tacit 
acquiescence is meant by the vows of the marriage-service ; 
and though cynics endeavour to persuade us that these 
vows are far more frangible and far more often broken than 
they used to be, it is as well to believe in the whole force of 
them while we stand before the altar-rails, and before the 
priest utters his benediction. And the worst of it all was 
that the phrase expressed Madeleine's feelings thoroughly 
— her feelings as regarded her marriage, her feelings to- 
wards her husband. It was Ramsay Caird — it might have 
been Clement Penruddock, or Frank Only, or Lord 
Roderick Douglas, or half-a-dozen others. She had an 
equal liking for all these men ; no love for any one of them. 
In her earlier girlish days, some year or two beforehand, 
she had wondered which of the young men who frequented 
the house would propose to her, and which of them she 
would marry. None of them had ever proposed to her. 
They saw long before she did that she was marked down 
for Ramsay Caird. These sort of things are concealed 
with the utmost discretion by long-headed mothers, are 
never suspected by daughters, and are discussed between 
male friends of the family with much openness and free- 
dom. She had been a favourite with all these pleasant 
youths ; but they knew perfectly well why Ramsay Caird 
was always at the house, and why he inevitably had the 
best chance ; and their regard for Lady Muriel was by no 
means diminished by the clever manner in which she aided 
and assisted her protege. 

After marriage, at least during the first few months after 
marriage, it was very much the same. Madeleine " liked " 



her husband ; he was quite gentlemanly, genial, cheery, very 
hospitable, very fond of pleasure, very fond of spending 
money on her, on himself, on any one. He never interfered 
with her in the smallest degree, and never was happier than 
when she was under the chaperonage of her mother, and his 
attendance on her was not required. During the first few 
months of her married life she received a vast number of 
callers ; all of whose visits she duly repaid ; went out con- 
stantly to dinners, balls, receptions of all kinds, to operas 
and theatres, private and public fetes, — everywhere, in short, 
where people can go with decency and enjoy themselves. 
Not that Madeleine enjoyed herself. " It would do very 
well " seemed to be the keynote no less in her pleasures than 
in the rest of her life. In company she sat with the same 
ever-blank look until she was roused. Then she responded 
with the same smile. Oh, so unlike her old smile ! With 
an upward glance of her blue eyes, where there was no light 
now, and with the little society-laugh which she had recently 
learned, and which was so different from the hearty ringing 
burst which used to greet her father's ears at Kilsyth in the 
old days before her illness — those days which seemed to her, 
to them all, but to her most of all, so long ago. 

Visitors she had in plenty. Scarcely a morning passed 
without a call from Lady Muriel, who, still priding herself 
upon the admirable manner in which by her tact her step- 
daughter had been "settled," looked in to see how she was 
getting on, to learn who had been to see her during the pre- 
vious day, what parties she had been to, whom she had met, 
what their reception of her had been, and what invitations 
for forthcoming gaieties she had received. A comparison of 
notes on these last matters, now a favourite occupation of 
Lady Muriel's, with whose great name the world of fashion 
had begun to busy itself, proclaiming her as one of its leaders, 
— and she, always equal to the occasion, had accepted the 
tribute gracefully, and, as in everything else, conscientiously 


discharged the duties of her position, — then luncheon, to which 
meal Lady Muriel would frequently remain, and when some 
of the more intimate friends of the family, notably Mrs 
M'Diarmid, would drop in ; not that Mrs M'Diarmid's acces- 
sion added much to the comfort of the meal. The dear old 
lady, when her favourite project of marrying Madeleine to 
Wilmot had been untimely nipped in the bud, and when 
she saw that Ramsay Caird, whom she cordially disliked, was 
the accepted suitor, relinquished all opposition in silence, and 
contented herself with sniffing loudly, as the sole demon- 
stration of her displeasure. That marriage-service, which she 
had pictured to herself with so many different "eligibles" 
as bridegrooms, might, but for the presence of mind of his 
Right Reverence of Boscastle, have been sorely interrupted 
by the defiant sniffs which came from the right-hand pew 
close by the altar-rails, where Mrs Mac, dressed in the brown 
moire which had so often filled her dreams, had bestowed her- 
self, to the deep indignation of the pew-opener. But she 
did not allow her disapproval of the marriage to interfere 
with her love for " her dear child ; " she came constantly to 
Squab-street ; and the pleasantest hours of Madeleine's life 
were passed in the society of this good old woman, when she 
knew that there was no call upon her to exert herself in any 
way, or to show herself otherwise than she really was ; when 
she could lie back in her chair, and indulge herself with the 
sweet sad day-dream of " what might have been," which con- 
trasted so harshly and unsatisfactorily with what was. 

A drive in her step-mother's carriage, or a round of calls 
in her own brougham, filled up the afternoon, until it was 
time to return home to preside at her tea-table and receive 
her friends. After her engagement had been regularly an- 
nounced there had been a good deal of fuss made about that 
five-o'clock tea-table ; the young men who were intimate at 
Brook-street had vowed that they would make it the 
pleasantest in London ; that more news should be heard there 


than anywhere else ; and that the men who write in the 
Cotillon — a charming amateur journal of political canards and 
society gossip, published during the season — should go on 
their knees and implore invitations. The tea-table had been 
established in due course, but it had not been such a success 
as had been anticipated. Madeleine was triste and quiet to 
a degree. The men could not understand it, she had always 
been, so pleasant before her marriage ; unlike most women, 
who are always a doosid sight pleasanter after it. They had 
been in the habit of finding their old partners of the two or 
three previous seasons, now married, by no means indisposed 
to listen to the compliments which they had been erst in the 
habit of addressing to them ; and the practice had derived 
additional piquancy from the fact of the change of condi- 
tion in the person addressed. There was Lady Violet Pen- 
ruddock, for instance, only married to old Clem — oh, within 
a few weeks of Miss Kilsyth's marriage ; and how jolly she 
was ! Looked as fresh as possible — fresh as paint, some 
fellow said ; but that was a confounded shame, don't you 
know, — only a little powder and that kind of thing, what all 
girls use, don't you know — doosid cruel you women are to 
one another ! There was Lady Vi, jolly as a sand-boy ! Old 
Clem was at his club, or some place, and didn't come home 
till late, and there was always tearing fun at Grosvenor-gate. 
Charmin' woman, Lady Vi ; and very wise of old Clem to 
like to read the evening papers, and that kind of thing. Not 
that there was anything to be complained of Caird in this 
matter ; never thought much of Caird, eh, did you ? he was 
never at home ; but his wife had grown so confoundedly 
dull, hipped, and that kind of thing — bored, don't you know? 
sits still and don't say a word except yes and no ; don't help a 
feller out a bit, you know, and looks rather dreary and dull. 
Poor Madeleine ! she was beginning to be found out by 
her friends. If you live in society you must contribute your 
quota, according to your means — either your rank, your 


money, your talent — towards the general stock ; but unless 
your birth will warrant it, you must never be dull ; and in 
no case must you differ from the ordinary proceedings of 
your order. Madeleine was very unlike Lady Violet Pen- 
ruddock, she felt — very unlike indeed. But that was her 
misfortune, not her fault. She would have been very glad 
to laugh and flirt with all her old friends, to talk nonsense 
and innocent scandal, and all the society chit-chat, if she had 
been able ; but she was not able. Under all her quiet 
manner and shyness and girlishness Madeleine Caird pos- 
sessed what Lady Violet Penruddock had never pretended 
to — a heart. That heart had been hurt and torn and lacer- 
ated ; and as in the present day it is not possible to explain, 
this, or rather it is considered essential to hide it, Madeleine 
was obliged to put up with the imputation of dulness, when 
in reality she was merely suffering from having loved some 
one who, as she thought, did not care for her, and having 
been compelled to marry somebody for whom she had no real 

Did Eamsay Caird ever fancy that his wife did not care 
for him, or at least was not as romantically fond of him as 
are most wives of their husbands during the first few months 
after marriage ? If he did, did the reflection eve? cost him 
a moment's anxiety, a moment's distrust, a thought that 
perhaps his own course of living was not precisely adapted 
to enthral the affections of a young girl? Not for an 
instant. Eamsay, when Lady Muriel's half-spoken hints 
had first enlightened him as to the position which, for his 
dead brothei"'s sake, her ladyship proposed to him to hold, 
had cogitated over the matter in an essentially business- 
like spirit, and had come to the conclusion that such an 
opportunity ought by all means to be made the most of. 
He was a calculating, cautious young man, entirely devoid 
of impulse ; and — as had been suspected by more than one 
of the frequenters of the Brook-street establishment, who, 

z 2 


however, were much too good fellows to hint at it openly — 
he was a man fond of common, not to say gross pleasures, 
which his limited means prevented him from indulging in. 
A marriage with Madeline Kilsyth, herself a very nice girl, 
as society girls went, would give him position, ease, and 
money — leave him his own master, with power and oppor- 
tunity to pursue his own devices — and was therefore for 
him in every respect most desirable. With all his easy 
bearing, his laissez-aller manners, and his apparent non- 
chalance, Mr Ramsay Caird possessed his full share of the 
national 'cuteness ; and having made up his mind to win, 
looked carefully round him to see where his course lay 
straightest, and what shoals were to be avoided. He de- 
termined to make a waiting race of it, convinced that any 
eagerness or ill-timed enthusiasm might spoil his chance; 
he saw that his game was to be quiet and wait upon his 
oars until he received the signal to dash out into mid- 
stream ; his complete willingness to attend to all sugges- 
tions, and to take his time from the family, quite fascinated 
Ronald Kilsyth, from whom at first Caird had apprehended 
opposition ; and, as we have seen, when the time came he 
declared himself with so strong a show that no other com- 
petitor dared put in an appearance. 

But when the race had been run and the prize secured, 
Ramsay Caird felt that the crisis was past, that the long 
course of tutelage under which he had placed himself was 
at an end, and that henceforward he would enjoy those bene- 
fits for the acquisition of which he had regulated his 
conduct for so many months. He had not the smallest 
love for his wife ; he had even but small admiration for her 
looks. Madeleine's blue eyes and golden hair were too 
cold and insipid for his taste. In his freer moments he 
was accustomed to talk about " soul "--an attribute which 
poor Maddy was supposed not to possess — and "liquid 
eyes " and " classic features " and the " sunny South " — 


which, as Tommy Toshington remarked, when told of it, 
accounted for his having seen Oaird on the previous Sunday 
afternoon ringing at the door of the villa temporarily 
tenanted by Madame Favorita, the prima donna of the 
Opera, and situated in the Alpha-road. Tommy Toshing- 
ton invariably happened to be passing by when the wrong 
man was ringing at the wrong house ; and got an immense 
number of pleasant dinners out of the coincidence. So 
that Kamsay Caird saw but little of the interior of his own 
house after leaving it in the mornings. lie at first had 
been somewhat punctilious and deferential with Lady 
Muriel, taking care to be at home when she came, and to be 
in attendance when he thought she would require his 
presence ; but after a few weeks he threw off this restraint, 
and kept the hours which suited him. Kilsyth looked 
blank and uncomfortable once or twice when at dinners, 
specially given in honour of the new-married couple, Made- 
leine had appeared alone, and Lady Muriel had proffered a 
story of Eamsay's toothache or business appointment ; and 
Bonald had looked black, and held more than one muttered 
conversation with his step-mother, in the course of which 
his brows contracted, and his mouth grew very rigid. But 
Madeline never uttered a word of complaint, although Lady 
Muriel was in daily expectation of an outburst. She sat 
quietly, sadly, uninterestedly by. Better, far better, for all 
concerned if she had had sufficient feeling of her own lone- 
liness, of her own neglected condition, to appeal in language 
however forcible and strong. To labour under the " it- will- 
do-very-well " feeling is to be on the high road to destruc- 



Lady Muriel Kilsyth had carried her cherished plafi 
into execution — had seen her wishes as regarded Madeleine 
and her kinsman Ramsay Caird fulfilled. With wonderfully 
little trouble, too. "When she • thought over it all, she was 
surprised at the apparent ease and rapidity with which the 
marriage, which she had regarded, after Madeleine's illness 
at Kilsyth, as a difficult matter to manage, had been brought 
about. Time had done it all for her — time, assisted by her 
own tact and skill, and the accomplished fashion after which 
she had removed all removable obstacles, and availed herself of 
every circumstance and indication in favour of her cherished 
project. Nor had the smallest injury to her own position 
resulted from manoeuvering which Lady Muriel would have 
been ready to blast, if performed by any one else, with the 
ruinous epithet, " vulgar matchmaking." No, not the 
smallest. Indeed, Lady Muriel Kilsyth was one of those 
fortunate individuals whose position may be generally re- 
garded as, under all circumstances, unassailable. She stooci 
as well with Ronald as ever ; and Lady Muriel, with all her 
imperturbable but never offensive pride, was more anxious 
about standing well with her step-son than the world would 
have consented to believe she could have been about se- 
curing the good opinion of any human being. She stood, as 
she always had done, first and chief in the love and esteem 
of her husband, who, if he did not "understand" her — and 
he was none the less happy with her- that he assuredly did 
not — made up for his want of comprehension by the most 
uncompromising trust, devotion, and admiration, — all mani- 
fested in his own quiet peculiar way. As this "way" 
included allowing her the most absolute liberty of action, 


and an apparent impossibility of questioning her judgment 
on any conceivable point, it suited Lady Muriel admirably. 

Kilsyth was perfectly satisfied with Madeleine's mar- 
riage. He believed in love-matches, and it never occurred 
to him to doubt that this was one. He had quietly taken it 
for granted, first, because Eamsay Caird had spoken of their 
" mutual attachment," when he had formally asked Kilsyth 
for the precious gift of his daughter. Then, Lady Muriel 
had spoken so warmly of Eamsay's love for Madeleine, had 
shown such generous and sensitive susceptibility to the pos- 
sibility of Kilsyth's thinking she had been wrong and inju- 
dicious in admitting to such close household intimacy a 
relative of her own, who was not qualified, as far as fortune 
was concerned, to pretend to his daughter's hand. Thirdly, 
if he never doubted Eamsay's being in love with Madeleine 
— and he never did doubt it for an instant — what could be 
more natural than that all the young men who had the 
chance should be in love with Madeleine ? Still less could 
it have occurred to him to doubt that Madeleine was in love 
with Eamsay. Eamsay had neither rank nor fortune to give 
her — that was very certain ; and Kilsyth knew of only two 
motives as possible incentives to marriage — love and money. 
Under any circumstances, he never could have suspected his 
daughter of being actuated by the latter. The fine, gallant, 
unsophisticated, hearty old fellow, who had had a fair share 
of happiness all his life, and whose knowledge of human 
nature was as superficial as his judgment of it was genial, 
had no notion that pique, thwarted love, blighted hope, 
wounded pride, the strong and desperate necessity of hiding 
suffering from kindred household eyes, or an infatuated 
yearning for the freedom, in certain respects, whose value a 
man can never estimate, and which a girl gains by her mar- 
riage, were among the not unfrequent causes of the taking 
of that tremendous step. He had never talked to Maddy 
about her love for Eamsay Caird, certainly ; it would never 


have occurred to him to "make the girl uncomfortable," as 
he would have expressed it, by any such proceeding ; but he 
would as soon have suspected that Madeleine had brought 
an asp to her new home among her wedding-clothes as be- 
lieved that the girl's heart hid, ever so far down in its 
depths, another image than her husband's. 

So Kilsyth was satisfied, in his genial and outspoken 
way ; and Ronald was satisfied, after his grim undemonstra- 
tive fashion. And Lady Muriel stood well with all con- 
cerned, especially with Madeleine. All the petty restraints 
of "step-mother" authority, inevitably resented even by 
the most amiable natures, however mildly exercised, were 
gone now. Maddy was on a social level with Lady Muriel ; 
there could never more be any of the little discords between 
them there had been ; and Madeleine, as she took her own 
place in the world, and felt, with a sudden sort of shock, as 
if she had grown ever so much older, woke up to a fuller 
consciousness of Lady Muriel's many attractions than she 
had ever previously attained. She recognized her beauty, 
her grace, her dignity, her perfect breeding, her thorough 
savoir faire, with real appreciation now, and true pleasure 
and admiration ; and one of the happiest thoughts in which 
she indulged was of how she would be such " good friends " 
with Lady Muriel, and how she would take her for the 
model of her conduct, and in every respect her social guide. 
She was perfectly aware of the dissimilarity which existed 
between them ; and she never would have been guilty of the 
absurdity of "copying" Lady Muriel's manners, but she 
might be guided by her for all that. So much the more 
readily now that she was not always in dread of hearing 
Wilmot mentioned, of being reminded of him, of exciting a 
suspicion by some inadvertence that she had been guilty of 
the folly of thinking he had cared for her just a little. No 
fear of that now. She was married and safe — poor child ! 

Unsuspicious by nature, ignorant of the world, and un- 


consciously living a life apart, a life in her own thoughts 
and reveries, Madeleine was wonderfully indifferent to the 
eonduct of her husband: Either she was really unconscious 
of it for some time after it had begun to excite the fears of 
her father, the suspicions of Lady Muriel, the anger of her 
brother, and the gossip of society, or she successfully con- 
trived to appear so. The judgment of the world leaned to 
the latter hypothesis; but the judgment of the world is 
always uncharitable, and frequently wrong. In the present 
instance it was both. Madeleine did not know that Eamsay 
Caird was behaving ill. He was always kind in his manner 
to her; and if he was — which there was no denying — a good 
deal away from home, why, he did not differ in that respect 
from many other men whom she knew or heard of, and it 
never occurred to Madeleine to resent his absence. Neither 
did it occur to her to ask herself whether she was not in real 
truth rather glad he should be so much away from her, nor 
to reflect that the world, which knew he was, would inevitably 
come to one of two conclusions, either that she was a most 
unhappy wife, or that she had never loved her husband. 

No ; Madeleine Caird thought of none of these things. 
She went on her way caring very little for anything ; not 
entirely unhappy, surprised indeed at the variations in her 
own spirits, unable to account for the overwhelming sadness 
which beset her at some times, and finding equally inex- 
plicable the ease with which she flung off this sadness at 
others. She was looked at and wondered at and talked of 
daily by scores of her acquaintances, and she was entirely 
unconscious that she was the subject of any such scrutiny. 

Lady Muriel understood Madeleine's state of mind per- 
fectly. She had a clue to it, which she alone possessed ; 
and while she regarded Eamsay Caird's conduct with all the 
by no means inconsiderable strength of indignation of which 
she was capable, she was quite aware that Madeleine was 
only in the conventional sense an object of compassion. 


"Was Lady Muriel quite satisfied, was she perfectly con- 
tent with her success ? Hardly so ; in the first place, be- 
cause she was forced to condemn Bamsay Caird, and she 
did not like to acknowledge the necessity; in the second 
place, because the result of this success, personal to her, 
that to which it was to owe its best value, its chief sweet- 
ness, was delayed. She chafed at Wilmot's absence now; 
she had hailed it until Madeleine's marriage had been an 
accomplished fact; she had tolerated it for a little time 
afterwards ; but now — now her impatience was undisguised 
to herself, now she wanted this man to return — this man 
who lent her life such a strange charm, in whose presence 
the common atmosphere took a vivid colouring, and every- 
day things and occurrences assumed a different meaning 
and value. 

Lady Muriel had heard of Chudleigh Wilmot's accession 
to fortune reasonably soon after the occurrence of the event. 
Kilsyth happened to be out of town for a few days on the 
occasion of Mr Poljambe's death, and had therefore not 
attended the funeral. General report, at least in Lady 
Muriel's particular sphere, had not yet proclaimed the suc- 
cession of one unlinked by ties of blood to the rich banker 
to the large fortune with which rumour correctly accredited 
Mr Foljambe, and it remained for Lady Muriel to learn the 
news from the same source whence Henrietta Prendergast 
had derived the account of Madeleine's marriage. It was 
from Mrs Charlton that Lady Muriel heard the interesting 
tidings, and Mrs Prendergast was present on the occasion. 
It was the first time she had ever been in the same rdom 
with Lady Muriel Kilsyth, and she had regarded her with 
lively curiosity, and much genuine, honest admiration. The 
finished style of Lady Muriel's beauty — the sort of style 
which conveys the impression that the possessor of so much 
beauty is beautiful as much by a sovereign act of her will 
as by the decree and gift of nature ; her grace of manner, 


true stamp of the grande dame Bet upon her, had irresistible 
attractions for Henrietta, who was one of those women, by 
no means so rare as the cynics would have us believe, who 
can heartily and enthusiastically admire the qualities, phy- 
sical and mental, of individuals of their own sex. 

" I am sure you will be glad to hear the news Mrs Pren- 
dergast has just told us," Mrs Charlton had said; and then 
Lady Muriel learned that Mr Eoljambe had made Wilmot 
his heir. She received the intelligence with the perfection 
of friendly interest ; she turned courteously to Mrs Pren- 
dergast, as though taking it for granted her congratulations 
were to be addressed to her individually, as "Wilmot's rela- 
tive or friend ; and as she did so her heart beat rapidly, 
with the pulse of one who has escaped a great danger, as she 
thought, " Had this happened only a few weeks sooner all 
might have been lost ! " 

It was on the same day and at the same hour that Wil- 
mot learned the same fact, from the letter of his dead friend, 
at Berlin. 

Had Lady Muriel been a younger, a weaker, or a less 
experienced woman, she must inevitably have betrayed 
. some emotion beyond that of mere gratification at a friend's 
good fortune to the keen eyes of Henrietta Prendergast. 
But her savoir /aire was perfect, and she said and looked 
precisely what she ought to have said and looked. There 
was a strange accord in the impulsive thoughts of each ot 
these women, so different, so widely separated by circum- 
stances. As Henrietta repeated the intelligence for Lady 
Muriel's information which she had already communicated 
to Mrs Charlton, she too was thinking, " Had this happened 
only a few weeks sooner all might have been lost ! " 

Madeleine's marriage was of no less importance to the 
designs and the hopes of Henrietta Prendergast than to 
those of Lady Muriel Kilsyth. 

" I wonder what he will do now ? " said Miss Charlton, 


■who had some of the advantages of silliness, among them a 
happy naivete, which made it always safe to calculate upon 
her making some remark or asking some question which 
others might desire to proffer on their own behalf, but for 
the restraints of good taste. Lady Muriel could not im- 
agine; Mrs Prendergast could not guess. Lady Muriel 
remarked that Dr Wilmot would probably be guided by the 
nature of Mr Poljambe's property, and the terms of the be- 

" I fancy the whole property is in money, with the ex- 
ception of the house in Portland-place," said Henrietta. 
" I have heard my poor friend Mrs Wilmot say that Mr 
Poljambe hated all the responsibility of landed property, 
and had none. So Dr "Wilmot will be free — perhaps he will 
live altogether abroad." 

" Do you think that probable ? " said Lady Muriel, very 
courteously implying Mrs Prendergast's more intimate ac- 
quaintance with the object of the discussion. " For a man 
of his turn of mind, I fancy there's no place like London — ■ 
certainly no country like England." 

" Ah, yes, Lady Muriel, very true," said the irrepressible 
Miss Charlton, making her mother wince for the twentieth 
time since the commencement of the visit ; " but then, you 
see, he has such painful recollections of London. His poor 
wife dying as she did, you know, while he was away attend- 
ing to strangers." 

" Very true," said Lady Muriel — with perfect self- 
possession, and purposely turning her head away from Mrs 
Charlton, who glanced angrily and despairingly at her un- 
conscious daughter, and towards Henrietta, who shared her 
friend's dismay. " We all regretted that circumstance very 
deeply ; and I do not wonder Dr Wilmot should have felt 
it as he did : still, he is so strong-minded a man — " 

" And so perfectly convinced that it had nothing to do 
with his wife's death — I mean that he could not have saved 
her," said Henrietta quickly. 


Lad)' Muriel looked at her inquiringly. 

'• Mrs Prendergast was Mrs Wilmot's intimate friend, 
and was with her when she died," Mrs Charlton said ; and 
then another visitor came in, and a tete-a-tete established 
itself between Lady Muriel and Henrietta, which caused her 
visit to be prolonged considerably beyond any former experi- 
ence of Mrs Charlton, and gave her ladyship a good deal to 
think of, when she had ordered her coachman to go into the 
Park, and gave herself up to her thoughts, mechanically re- 
turning the numerous salutes which she received, and think- 
ing sometimes how strange it was that there was no one in 
all this great crowded London whom it could interest her 
to see. 

" She must have been a strange woman," thought Lady 
Muriel, " and desperately uninteresting, I am sure. That 
Mrs Prendergast has plenty of character. He never men- 
tioned her, that I can remember ; but then he talked so little 
of himself, he said so little from which any notion of his daily 
life and its surroundings could be gathered. Tes, I am sure 
his wife was a tiresome, commonplace creature, with no kind 
of companionship in her — an insipid doll. What wonderful 
things one sees under the sun in the way of unsuitable mar- 
riages ! To think of such a man marrying such a woman ! 
But it is stranger still" — and here Lady Muriel's face dark- 
ened, and a hard look came into her beautiful brown eyes — 
" it is stranger still to think that such a man should be at- 
tracted by Madeleine — such a merely ' pretty girl.' And he 
was — he was ; I could not be mistaken. If this fortune had 
come a little sooner, what would he have done ? He could 
not of course have proposed to her— impossible in the time 
— but he might have told Kilsyth, and gotten his leave, when 
the year should be up. What a danger ! I am glad I never 
thought of such a thing ; I am glad the possibility never oc- 
curred to me. Eonald, indeed, would have been a barrier ; 
but I need not, I must not deceive myself, Kilsyth would 


not have listened to Bonald where Madeleine's happiness 
was concerned. When will he return ? He must come 
soon, I suppose, to arrange his affairs. I need not fear his 
admiration of Madeleine now — he is not a man to admire 
the woman who could marry Earn say Gaird. If she did be- 
tray to him that she loved him, he would have the best and 
plainest proof in her marriage how fickle and flimsy such a 
feeling is in her case." 

Lady Muriel Kilsyth was in many respects a very su- 
perior, in many respects a highly-principled woman ; but she 
had dreamed a forbidden dream, she had cherished a per- 
verse thought, and such speculations as she would once have 
shrunk from with incredulous amazement had become not 
only possible but easy to her. 

And then all her thoughts directed themselves towards 
the one object — Wilmot's return. When would he come 
back ? She wrote the news of the disposition of Mr Fol- 
jambe's will to Kilsyth ; and he answered in a few jovial 
lines, expressing his heartfelt satisfaction. She told the 
news to Madeleine ; carelessly, skilfully, opening a large 
parcel of books as she spoke, and looking at the contents. 
Madeleine was in her ladyship's boudoir ; her bonnet lay on 
the sofa by her side, and she was idly twisting the strings. 

" You are going to fetch Ramsay from the club, are you, 
Maddy ? " 

" Yes," said Madeleine listlessly, and looking at the clock; 
" presently, I suppose. Have you anything new there ? " 

"New? yes. Good ? I can't say. Nothing you would 
care for, I fancy. All the magazines, though. A new vo- 
lume by Merivale, — not much after your fashion. A new 
novel by nobody knows whom — Squire ffldlerton's Will. 
By-the-by, the name reminds me— I don't think you have 
heard about Mr Foljambe's Will ? " 

"JSTo," said Madeleine rising, and tying on her bonnet at 
the chimney-glass. 


"Tour father is delighted. Only fancy, Mr Foljambe 
has left all his money to Dr "Wilmot." 

Madeleine did not answer for a minute. Then she said, 

" I am very glad. Was Mr Foljambe very rich ? " 

"I believe so. They talk of its being a very large for- 
tune. "What a delightful change for Dr "Wilmot ! Of 
course he will give up his profession now, and take a place 
in society " 

" Do you think he would give up his profession for any- 
thing, Lady Muriel ? " asked Madeleine. 

Lady Muriel was standing at a table, still sorting the 
books ; she could not see Maddy's face. 

" Give up his profession ! Of course, my dear. A man 
of fortune is not likely to practise as a doctor, I should 
think; besides, the position." 

" Every one — I mean Mr Foljambe always said Dr "Wil- 
mot was so devoted to his profession," said Madeleine hesitat- 

" Of course he was ; and of course his friends said so. 
It is the best and wisest thing a man can have said of him — 
the best character he can get, while he wants it, and easily 
laid aside when he doesn't. "What's this ? Wine of Shiraz ! 
Oh, another book of travels with a fantastical name ! Are 
you going, Maddy ? "Will you have one of these productions 
to try?" 

"No, thank you," said Madeleine ; and she took leave of 
Lady Muriel, and did not call for Ramsay at the club, but 
went home, and passed the evening with a book lying open 
on her knee — a book of which she never turned a page, and 
wondered when Chudleigh "Wilmot would come home. She 
wondered whether his wealth would make him happy. She 
wondered whether, if he had been a rich man and not a hard- 
working doctor, he would have cared a little about her when 
his wife died ; and whether it was really as Lady Muriel had 
said, or whether his devotion to his profession was genuine 


and true. She wondered whether he ever thought of her ; 
she felt sure he knew of her marriage. "Well, not ever— 
something forbade her using that word in her thoughts, 
something told her it would be unjust and unkind ; but 
much ? Eonald would hear about this bequest of Mr Pol- 
iambe's ; would be glad — or sorry — or neither ? Supposing 
it had come earlier, and he, Wilmot, had cared for her ! would 
things have been different ? would Eonald — But no, no ; she 
must not think of that. Let her still believe he had seen in 
her only a patient, only a case of fever, only an occasion for 
the exercise of his skill. She wondered, if " things had been 
different " — which was the phrase by which she translated 
to herself " if she had married Wilmot" — whether it would 
have harmed any one ; she did not dare to think how happy 
it would have made her. Bamsay ? But no ; not all the 
simplicity, not all the credulous egotism of girlhood — and 
Madeleine had her fair share of those natural qualities — 
could persuade her that Ramsay's life would have been mar- 
red if their marriage had never taken place. And so she 
wondered and wondered, recurring often in her thoughts 
solemnly to the dead woman who had been Wilmot's wife, 
and thinking sadly, wonderingly, over that life, all unknown 
to her ; and yet concerniug which some mysterious instinct 
had whispered to her vaguely and unhappily. She hoped 
people would not talk much to her, or before her, of this be- 
quest of Mr Foljambe's. It embarrassed her, though she 
knew it ought not ; who ought to be so ready as she to speak 
of him, to whom no one owed so much ? 

Henrietta Prendergast wondered too when Dr Wilmot 
would return to London ; and questioned Dr Whittaker, 
who had contrived in a wonderfully brief space of time to 
accumulate an extraordinary quantity of information relative 
to the nature and extent of Wilmot's inheritance. The 
worthy man possessed an inherent talent for gossip, which 
was likely to be of great service to him in his career, being 


admittedly an immense recommendation for a physician, 
especially when his practice lies in a class of society largely 
productive of maladcs imagiiutires. Wilmot was left at per- 
fect liberty, except in the matter of the house in Portland- 
place. It was not to be sold ; and Wilmot had -instructed 
the solicitors to keep up the establishment, and retain the 
old housekeeper and butler permanently in his service. 
As for his old house in Charles-street, Wilmot had behaved 
most generously indeed — Dr Whittaker would say he had 
placed it entirely at his disposal nobly : for the remainder 
of his lease ; and by the time that should expire he had ex- 
pressed his conviction that Dr Whittaker would bo making 
his fortune. 

"All the more chance of it, Mrs Prendergast," said 
Whittaker with his smoothest smile, " that Wilmot will be 
out ' of my way ; he's a wonderfully clever fellow, wonder- 
fully ; and I can't imagine a more popular physician. I 
assure you he reminds me, in his way of dealing with a case, 
of Carlyle's description of Frederick the Great's eyes, 
'rapidity resting upon depth.' Quite Wilmot — quite Wil- 
mot, I assure you." And Dr Whittaker, considering that 
he had made a remarkably good hit, took himself off, leaving 
Henrietta with new matter for her thoughts. 

The three women who thus pondered and thought and 
speculated about Chudleigh Wilmot had plenty" of time 
during which to indulge in these vain occupations. Time 
passed on, and Mr Poljambe's heir did not present himself 
to the tide of congratulations which awaited him. The first 
interest of the intelligence died out. Other rich men died, 
and left their wealth to other heirs expectant or non- 
expectant. " Poljambe's will " and " Wilmot's luck " had 
almost ceased to be talked about when Chudleigh Wilmot 
ventured into society. Henrietta Prendergast was the first 
of the three who saw him. As for Lady Muriel and Made- 

2 A 


leine, they were less likely to meet him than any women in 
London; for the good reason that "Wilmot sedulously 
avoided them. And for a time successfully ; but that was 
not always to he. He believed that the page of the book of 
his life on which " Madeleine Kilsyth " was written was 
closed for ever ; Pate had written upon another, " Madeleine 



Oe all those who were in the habit of seeing Madeleine 
under circumstances which made it possible for them to 
observe her closely, her brother had been the last to perceive 
and the most reluctant to acknowledge that the state of her 
health was far from satisfactory. Eonald Kilsyth was 
habitually unobsei 7 ant in matters of the kind ; and lie 
usually saw Madeleine in the evening, when the false spirits 
and deceptive flush of her disease produced an appearance 
of health and vivacity which might have imposed upon a 
closer observer. He knew she had a cough indeed; but 
then " Maddy always had a cough — I never remember her 
without one," was the ready reply to any observations made 
on the subject in his hearing, and to any misgivings which 
occasionally flitted across his own mind. It did not occur 
to him that in this " fact " there was no reply at all, but 
rather an additional reason for apprehension concerning this 
cough. When Madeleine was a child, it was acknowledged 
that she was delicate. " She had it from her poor mother," 
Kilsyth would say— Kilsyth, who never had a day's illness 
in his life, and in whose family ninety years was considered 
a fair age. But she was to get strong, to " outgrow her 


delicacy " as she grew up. "When Madeleine was a girl, she 
was still delicate ; perhaps more continuously so than she 
had been as a child, though no longer subject to the 
maladies of childhood ; but she was to get stronger as she 
grew older. Wow Madeleine had grown older ; the delicate 
girl, with her fragile figure and poetical face, was no more ; 
in her place was a beautiful, self-possessed young woman — a 
wife, with a place in the world, and a career before her. 
Strange, but Madeleine was still delicate ; the time unhesi- 
tatingly foretold, looked forward to so anxiously with a kind 
of weary patience by her father, had come ; but it had not 
brought the anticipated, the desired result. Madeleine was 
more delicate than ever. Her friends saw it, her father saw 
it ; her step-mother saw it more clearly than either — saw it 
with feelings which would have been remorseful, had she not 
arrested their tendency in that direction by constantly 
reminding herself that Madeleine had been delicate as a 
child and as a girl ; but her brother had not permitted the 
fact to establish itself in his mind. 

The old affection, tacitly interrupted for a time, when 
Madeleine had felt the unexpressed opposition of her brother 
to Chudleigh Wilmot, had been as tacitly restored between 
them since Madeleine's marriage. She had felt during that 
sad interval, all whose sadness was hidden and unspoken, 
never taking an external shape, but formless, like a sorrow 
in a dream, that circumstances and her surroundings were 
stronger than she was ; she had felt somewhat like a prisoner, 
against and for whom conspiracies were formed, but who had 
no power to meddle in them, and no distinct knowledge of 
their methods or objects. Mrs M'Diarmid, she vaguely felt, 
was for her, in the secret desire of her heart ; her brother 
against her. Ronald would have been successful in any case, 
she had been quite sure, even if he had not been at once jus- 
tified and relieved of all apprehensions by Wilmot' s departure. 
He did not care for her — he had gone away ; they might each 

2 a 2 


and all have spared the pains they had taken — their bug-bear 
had been only a myth. Then Madeleine, in whose mind 
justice had a high place, turned again to her brother as 
tacitly, as completely, without explanation, as she had turned 
from him, and loved him, admired him, thought about him, 
and clung to him as she bad been wont to do. Which surprised 
Ronald Kilsyth, who had taken it for granted that Madeleine, 
who had married Eamsay Caird a good deal to the Captain's 
surprise — who had his theories concerning affinities and ana- 
logies, into which this alliance by no means fitted — but not 
at all to his displeasure, would discard everybody in favour 
of her husband, and devote herself to him after the gushing 
fashion of very young brides in ordinary. He had smiled 
grimly to himself occasionally, as he wondered whether Lady 
Muriel would be altogether satisfied with a match which was 
so largely of her own bringing about, and by which, whatever 
advantages she had secured to her own family, for whom she 
entertained a truly clannish attachment, she had undeniably 
provided herself with a young, beautiful, and ever-present 
rival in her own queendom of fashion and social sway. " Let 
them fight it out," Captain Kilsyth had thought; "it would 
have been pleasanter if Maddy had gone farther afield ; but 
it cannot be helped. I am sure she is glad to get away from 
Lady Muriel ; and I am sure Lady Muriel is glad to get rid 
of her. I don't understand her taking to Caird in this way; 
for I am as strongly convinced as ever it was no false alarm 
about "Wilmot; she was in love with him ; only," and his 
face reddened, " thank -God, she did not know it. However, 
it is time wasted to wonder about women, even the best and 
the truest of them, and no very humiliating acknowledgment 
to say I cannot understand them." 

But Captain Kilsyth was destined to find himself unable 
to discard reflection on his sister and her marriage after this 
fashion. Madeleine put all his previously conceived ideas to 
rout, and disconcerted all his expectations. She was by no 


means engrossed by her husband ; she did not assume any of 
the happy fussiness or fussy happiness which he had observed 
exhibit themselves mjcunes menaces constructed on the old- 
fashioned principle of love, as opposed to the modern expe- 
dient of convcuancc. She was just as friendly, just as kindly 
with Ramsay Caird as she had been in the days before their 
brief engagement, in the days when Eonald had found it dif- 
ficult to believe that Lady Muriel's wishes and plans would 
ever be realized. She did not talk about her house, or give 
herself any of the pretty "married-woman" airs which are 
additional charms in brides in their teens. She led, as far as 
Eonald knew, much the same sort of life she had led under 
her step-mother's chaperonage ; and Kilsyth visited her every 
day: Eonald too, when he was in town; and he soon felt 
that he was all to her he had formerly been. ;The innocent, 
girlish, loving heart had room and power for grief indeed, but 
none for a half-understood anger, none for the prolongation 
of an involuntary estrangement. So the first months of 
Madeleine's married life were pleasant to her brother in his 
relations with her ; and the first thing which occurred to 
trouble his mind in reference to her was his suspicion and 
dislike of certain points in Eamsay Caird's conduct. Here, 
again, Madeleine puzzled him. Naturally, he had no sooner 
conceived this suspicious displeasure against the man to whom 
such an immense trust as that of his sister's happiness had 
been commited than he sought to discover by Madeleine's 
looks and manner whether and how far her happiness was 
compromised by what he observed. But he failed to discover 
any of the indications which he sought. Madeleine's spirits 
were unequal, but her disposition had never been precisely 
gay ; and there was no trace of pique, sullennness, or the con- 
sciousness of offence in her manner towards her husband. 

It was when Eonald's indignation against Eamsay Caird 
was rising fast, and he began to think Madeleine either un- 
accountably indifferent to certain things which women of quite 


as gentle a nature as hers would inevitably and reasonably 
resent, or that she was concealing her sentiments, in the 
interests of her dignity, with a degree of skill and cleverness 
for which he was far from having given her credit, that his 
sister's delicate health for the first time attracted Eonald's 
attention. And Mrs M'Diarmid was the medium of the 
first communication on the subject which alarmed him. 

As in all similar cases, attention once excited, anxiety 
once awakened, the progress of both is rapid. Eonald 
questioned his father, questioned Lady Muriel, questioned 
Ramsay Caird. In each instance the result was the same. 
Madeleine was undoubtedly very delicate, and the danger of 
alarming her, which, as her organization was highly nervous 
and sensitive, was considerable, presented a serious obstacle 
to the taking of the active measures which had become un- 
deniably desirable. 

One day Eonald went to see his sister earlier in the day 
than usual, having been told by Mrs M'Diarmid that her 
looks in the evening were not by any means a reliable indi- 
cation of the state of her health. He found her lying on a 
sofa in her dressing-room, wholly unoccupied, and with an 
expression of listless weariness in her face and figure which 
even his unskilled judgment could not avoid observing and 
appreciating with alarm. 

One hand was under her head, the other hung listlessly 
down ; and as Eonald drew near, and took it in his tenderly, 
he saw how thin the fingers were, how blue the veins, how 
they marked their course too strongly under the white skin, 
and how the rose-tint was gone. As he took the gentle 
hand, he felt that it was cold ; but it burned in his clasp 
before he had held it a minute. Like all men of his stamp, 
Eonald Kilsyth, when he was touched, was deeply touched ; 
when his mood was tender, it was very tender. Madeline 
looked at him ; and the love and sadness in her smile pierced 
at once his well-defended heart. 

"What's this I hear, Maddy, about your not being 


well ? " he said, as he seated himself beside her sofa, and 
kissed her forehead— it was slightly damp, he felt, and she 
touched it with her handkerchief frequently while he stayed. 
" You were not complaining last week, when I saw you last; 
and now I've just come up to town, and been to Brook- 
street, I find my father and my lady quite full of your not 
being well. "What is it all, Maddy ? what are you suffering 
from, and why have you said nothing about it? " 

" I am not very ill, Ronald," said Madeleine, raising 
herself, and propping herself up on her cushions by leaning 
on her elbow, one hand under her head, its fingers in her 
golden hair ; more profuse and beautiful than ever Ronald 
thought the hair was. " I am really not a bit worse than I 
have been ; only I suddenly felt a few days ago that I could 
not go on making efforts, and going out, and seeing people, 
and all that kind of thing, any longer ; and then papa got 
uneasy about me. I assure you that is the only difference ; 
and you know it does grow horribly tiresome, dear, don't 
you ? At least you don't know, because you never would 
do it ; and you were right ; but I — I hadn't much else to 
do, and it does not do to seem peculiar ; and I went on as 
long as I could. But this last week was really too much for 
me, and I had to tell Lady Muriel I must be quiet ; and so 
I have been quiet, lying here." 

She gave her brother this simple explanation, her blue 
eyes looking at him with a smile, and a tone in her voice as 
though she prayed him not to blame her. 

"My poor child, my darling Maddy! " said Eonald, "to 
think of your trying to go on in that way, and feeling so 
unequal to it, and fancying all the time you must ! "What a 
wonderful life of humbug and delusion you women lead, to 
be sure, either with your will or against it ! Now tell me, 
does Ramsay know how ill you are, and how you have been 
doing all sorts of things which are most unfit for you, until 
you are quite worn out ? " 
; " Ramsay is very kind," said Madeleine ; and then she 


hesitated, and the colour deepened painfully in ber face ; 
"but you know, Ronald, men are not very patient with 
women when they are only ailing ; if I were seriously ill, it 
would be quite a different thing. He really is not in tbe 
least to blame," she went on hurriedly; "he gets bored at 
home, you know ; and since I have not been feeling strong, 
it has been quite a relief to me to be alone." 

" I see — I understand," said Ronald; but his tone did 
not reassure Madeleine. 

" Tou really must not blame him," she repeated. " You 
know you yourself did not perceive that I was ill before 
you went away ; and it is only within the last week, I 
assure you. I suppose the cough has weakened me ; for 
some time, in the morning, I have felt giddy going down- 
stairs, so I thought it better not to try it until I get 

" I have not heard you cough much, Madeleine, that is, 
not more than usual, yoii know. Tou have always had a 
cough, more or less." 

" Yes," said Madeleine simply, " ever since I was born, 
I believe ; but it is never really bad, except in the morn- 
ing, and sometimes at night. Up to this time I have got 
on very well in the day and the afternoon ; and 1 like the 
evening best of all, if I am not too tired. I feel quite 
bright in the evening, especially when I take my drops." 

"What drops, Maddy ? " 

" The drops Sir Saville Rowe ordered for me last 
winter," said Madeleine. " I got on very well with them, 
and I don't want anything else. Papa wants me to see 
some of the great doctors, but there's really no occasion ; 
and I hate strangers. Dv Whittaker comes occasionally — 
as Sir Saville wished — and he does well enough. The mere 
idea of seeing a stranger now — in that way — would make 
me nervous and miserable." Indeed she flushed up again, 
looked excited and feverish, and a violent fit of coughing 


came on, and interrupted any remonstrance on Ronald's 
part, which perhaps she dreaded. 

But she need not have dreaded such remonstrance. 
There was a consciousness in Ronald's heart which kept 
him silent ; and besides, with every word his sister had 
spoken, with every instant during which his examination of 
her, close though furtive, had lasted, increasing alarm had 
taken firmer hold of him. How had he been so blind? 
How had he been content to accept appearances in Made- 
leine's case ? how had he failed to search and examine 
rightly into the story of this marriage, and satisfy himself 
that his sister's heart was in it, that she had really for- 
gotten Wilmot ? For a conviction seized upon Ronald 
Kilsyth, as he looked at his sister and listened to her, that 
had she been really happy this state of things Would not 
have existed. In the angry and suspicious state of his 
feelings towards "Wilmot, he had accorded little attention, 
and less credence, to his father's confidences respecting 
Wilmot's opinion and warnings about Madeleine's health. 
He was too honourable, too true a gentleman, even in his 
anger to set down Wilmot as insincere, as acting like a 
charlatan or an alarmist ; but he had dismissed the matter 
from his thoughts with disregard and impatience. How 
awfully, how fatally wrong he had been ! And a flame of 
anger sprung wildly up in his heart ; anger which involved 
equally himself and Lady Muriel. 

Yes, Lady Muriel ! All he had thought and done, he 
had thought and done at her instigation ; and though, 
when Ronald thought the matter over calmly afterwards, 
as was his wont, he was unable to believe that any other 
course than that which had ended in the complete separa- 
tion of Wilmot and Madeleine would have been possible, 
still he was tormented with this blind burning anger. 

When Lady Muriel had aroused his suspicions, had 
awakened his fears, Wilmot was a married man ; but when 



he had acted upon these fears and suspicions, Wilmot's 
wife was dead. " It might have been," then he thought. 
True ; but would he not, being without the knowledge, the 
fear which now possessed him, have at any time, and under 
any circumstances, prevented it? It cost him a struggle 
now, when the knowledge and the fear had come, and his 
mind was full of them, to acknowledge that he would ; but 
Eonald was essentially an honest man — he made the 
struggle and the acknowledgment. In so far he had no 
right to blame Lady Muriel. 

In so far — but what about Ramsay Caird ? How had 
that marriage been brought about ? How had his sister 
been induced to marry a man whom he now felt assured 
she did not love ? — something had revealed it to him, 
nothing she had said, nothing she had looked. How had 
this marriage, by which his sister had not gained in rank, 
wealth, or position, been brought about ? (He thought 
at this stage of his meditations, with a sigh, that Wilmot 
could even have given her wealth now — how bizarre the 
arrangements of fate are !) How had that been done ? 
By Lady Muriel of course, and no other. Maddy might 
have remained contentedly enough at home, might have 
been suffered gradually to forget "Wilmot, enticed into the 
amusements and distractions natural to her age and posi- 
tion ; there was no need for this extreme measure of 
inducing her to fix her fate precipitately by a marriage 
with Eamsay Caird. Tes, Lady Muriel had done it ; done 
it to secure Madeleine's fortune to a relative of her own, 
and to disembarrass herself of a grown-up step-daughter, 
How blind he had been, how completely he had played 
into her hands ! Thus thought Eonald, as he strode about 
his bare room at Brook-street, his face haggard with care> 
and his heart sick with the terrible fear which had smitten 
it with his first look at Madeleine. 

Konald's interview with his sister had been long and 

A<jtAJ.lN»X Xfl-U Urll.fl.ll'N. 

painful to him, though nothing, or very little more, had been 
said on the subject of her health. He had perceived her 
anxiety to abridge discussion on that point, and had fallen 
in with her humour. Once or twice, as he talked with her, 
he had asked her if she was quite sure he was not wearying 
her, if she did not feel tired or inclined to sleep, if he should 
go, and send her maid to her. But to all his questions Bhe 
replied no ; she was quite comfortable, and had not felt so 
happy for a long time ; and she begged him to stay with 
her as long as he could. The brother and sister talked of 
numerous subjects — much of Kilsyth, and their childhood ; 
a little of their several modes of life in the present ; and 
sometimes the current of their talk would be broken by 
Madeleine's low musical laugh, but oftener by the miserable 
cough, from which Eonald shrunk appalled, wondering that 
he ever could have heard it without alarm, with indifference. 
But the truth was, he had never heard it at all. The cough 
had changed its character ; and the significance which it had 
assumed, and which crept coldly with its hollow sound to 
Eonald's heart, was new. 

Eonald had a dinner engagement for that day, and re- 
mained with his sister until it was time to go home and dress. 
He looked into Kilsyth's room on his way to the hall-door, 
when he had completed that operation ; but his father was 
not there. " I will speak to him in the morning," thought 
Eonald. " I was impatient with him for croaking, as I 
thought, about Maddy. Q-od help him, I'm much mistaken, 
or it's worse than he thinks for.' 

And so Captain Kilsyth went out to dinner, and was 
colder in his manner and much less lucid and decisive in his 
conversation than usual. He left the party early, did not 
"join the ladies;" and all the other guests, notably "the 
ladies " themselves, were of opinion that they had no loss. 

"If AVilmot had not gone away when he did," said Kil- 


syth to his son, at an advanced stage of the long and sad con- 
versation which took place between them on the following 
morning, " Maddy would have been quite well now. Nobody 
understood her as he did ; you must have seen it to have be- 
lieved it, Ronald. Tou always had some unaccountable pre- 
iudice against Wilmot — I could not get to the bottom of it 
— but you must have acknowledged that, if you had seen it.'' 

" It is too late to talk about that now, sir," said Ronald ; 
" and you are quite mistaken in supposing that I undervalue 
Dr "Wilmot's ability. Eut something decisive must be done 
at once; and as "Wilmot's advice is not to be had, we must 
procure the best within our reach. There is no use now in 
looking back ; but I do wonder Caird has permitted her to 
be without good advice all this time, and has suffered us to 
be so misled. He must have known of the cough being so 
bad in the morning, and of her exhaustion at times when 
neither you nor Lady Muriel saw her." 

Kilsyth sighed. " I spoke to him yesterday," he said, 
" and I found him very easy about the matter. He says 
Maddy wouldn't have a strange doctor." 

" Maddy wouldn't have a strange doctor ! My dear 
father, what perfect nonsense ! As if Maddy were the pro- 
per person to judge on such a subject — as if she ever ought 
to have been asked or consulted ! As if any one in what I 
fear is her state ever had any consciousness of danger ! I re- 
cognize Caird completely in that, his invincible easiness, his 
selfishness, his — " 

He stopped. Kilsyth was looking at him, new concern and 
anxiety in his face ; and Eonald had no desire to cause either, 
beyond the absolute necessity of the case, to his father. 

"However," he said, "let us at least be energetic now. 
Come with me to see her now, and then we will consult some 
one with a first-rate reputation. Maddy will not offer any 
resistance when she sees your anxiety, and knows your 


Kilsyth and his son walked out together ; and in the 
street he took Eonald's arm. He was changed, enfeebled, 
by the fear which had captured him a few days since, and 
held him inexorably in its grasp. 

Madeleine received her father and brother cheerfully. 
As usual now, she was in her dressing-room, and also, as 
usual, she was lying down. Eamsay Caird had told her the 
previous evening that her father was anxious she should 
have immediate advice, and she was prepared to accede to 
the wish. Not that she shared it ; not that, as Eonald sup- 
posed, she was unconscious of her danger, as consumptive 
persons usually are. Quite the contrary, in fact. Made- 
leine Caird firmly believed that she was dying ; only she 
did not in the least wish to live ; and neither did she wish 
that her father should learn the fact before it became in- 
evitable, which she felt it must, so soon as an experienced 
medical opinion should be taken upon her case. 

But a certain dulness of all her faculties had made itself 
felt within the last few days, and she was particularly 
under its influence just then. She had neither the power 
nor the inclination to combat any opinion, to dissent from 
any wish. So she said, " Certainly, papa, if it will make 
your mind any easier about me ; " and twined her thin arm 
round her father's neck and kissed him, when he said, " I 
may bring a doctor to see you then, my darling, and you 
will tell him all about yourself." 

Her arm was still about his neck, and his brow was 
resting against her cheek, when he said : 

" Ah, if Wilmot were only here ! No one ever under- 
stood you like Wilmot, my darling." 

Neither Eonald nor Madeleine said a word in reply ; 
and when Eonald took leave of his sister, he avoided meet- 
ing her glance. 



In this great London world of ours it is our boast that 
we live free and unfettered by the opinions of our neigh- 
bours ; that we may be unacquainted with those persons 
who for a score of years have resided on either side of us ; 
that our sayings and doings, our " goings on," the com- 
pany we keep, the lives we lead, and the pursuits we fol- 
low, are nothing to anybody, and are consequently un- 
noticed. We pride ourselves on this not a little; we 
shrug our shoulders and elevate our eyebrows when we 
talk of the small scandal and the petty spite of provincial 
towns ; we are grateful that, in whatever state the larger 
vices may be, the smaller ones, at all events, do not flourish 
among us ; and, in short, we take to ourselves enormous 
credit for the possession of something which has not the 
slightest real existence, and for the absence of something 
else which is of daily growth. It is true that in London 
a man need not be particular about the shape of his hat or 
the cut of his coat, so far as London itself is concerned, any 
more than he need fear that his having taken too much 
wine at a public dinner, or held a lengthened flirtation with 
a barmaid, will appear in the public prints ; but in his own 
circle, be it high or low, large or small, pharisaical or 
liberal-minded, as much attention will be paid to all he does, 
his speeches, actions, and mode of life will be the subject 
of as much spiteful comment, as if he lived at Hull or vege- 
tated at York. The insane desire to talk about trifles, to 
indulge in childish chit-chat and terrible twaddle, to erect 
mole-hills into mountains, and to find spots in social suns, 
exists everywhere amongst people who have nothing to do, 
and who carry out the doctrine laid down by Dr Watts by 


applying their " idle hands " to " some mischief still." The 
Duke of Dilworth, interested in the management of his own 
estates, looking after the race-horses under his trainer's 
care, hunting up his political influence, and seeing that it 
sustains no diminution, marking catalogues of coming pic- 
ture-sales for purchases which he has long expected must 
enter the market, devising alterations in his Highland 
shooting-box, planning yachting expeditions, going through, 
in fact, that business of pleasure which is the real business 
of his life, has no time for profitless talk and ridiculous 
gossip, which, as his grace says, "he leaves for women." 
But the women like what is left for them. The Duchess 
and the Ladies Daffy have none of these occupations to fill 
the " fallow leisure of their lives " — their calls and visits, 
their fete-attendances and garden-parties, their play at 
poor-visitings and High- Church-service frequentings, leave 
them yet an enormous margin of waste time, which is more 
or less filled up by tattle of a generally derogatory nature. 
It is the same in nearly every class of life : men must work, 
and women must talk ; and when they talk, their conversa- 
tion is robbed of half its zest and point if it be not dispara- 
ging and detrimental to their dearest friends. 

It was not to be imagined that the Ramsay-Caird 
menage, even had it been very differently constituted, could 
have escaped criticism ; as it was, it courted it. The mere 
fact of Ramsay Caird himself having somehow or other 
slipped into the society of nous autres (it was solely through 
the Kilsyths that he was known in the set), and having had 
the audacity to carry away one of the prizes, would in itself 
have attracted sufficient attention to him and his, had other 
inducements been wanting. 

But other inducements were not wanting. The alteration 
which had taken place in Madeleine since her illness in 
Scotland, more especially since the time of the announcement 
of her engagement, was matter of public comment ; and all 


kinds of stories were set afloat by her dearest friends to 
account for it. That she had had some dreadful love-affair, 
highly injudicious, impossible of achievement, was one of the 
most romantic ; and being one of the most mischievous, 
consequently became one of the most popular theories, the 
only difficulty being to find for this desperate affair — which, 
it was said, had superinduced her illness, scarlet-fever being, 
as is well known to the faculty, essentially a mental disease 
— a hero. The list of visitors to the house was discussed in 
half-a-dozen different places ; but no one at all likely to fill 
the character could be found, until Colonel Jefferson was 
accidentally hit upon. This, coupled with the fact that 
Colonel Jefferson's mad pursuit of Lady Emily Fairfax, 
which every one knew had so long existed, had ceased about 
that time, was extensively promulgated, and pretty generally 
accepted. So extensively promulgated, that it reached the 
ears of Colonel Jefferson himself, and elicited from him an 
expression of opinion couched in language rather stronger 
than that gallant officer usually permitted himself the use of 
— to the effect that, if he found any one engaged in the 
fetching and carrying of such infernal lies, he, Colonel Jef- 
ferson, should make it his business to inflict personal chas- 
tisement on him, the said fetcher and carrier. A represent- 
ation of this kind coming from a very big and strong man, 
who in such matters had the reputation of keeping his pro- 
mise, had the effect of doing away with all identification of 
Mrs Eamsay Caird's supposed heart-broken lover, and of 
restoring him his anonymity, but the fact of his existence 
still was whispered abroad ; else why had one of the brightest 
girls of the past season — not that there was ever anything in 
her very clever, or that she was ever anything but extremely 
" missy," but still a pleasant, cheerful kind of girl in her way 
— why had she become dull and triste, and obviously uncar- 
ing for anything ? That was what society wanted to know. 
As for her husband, as for Eamsay Caird, society's 


tongue said very little about him ; but society's shoulders, 
and eyebrows, and bands, and fluttering fans, hinted a great 
deal. Society was divided on tbe subject of Mr Eamsay 
Caird. One portion of it threw out nebulous allusions to 
the fascinations of Madame Favorita of the Italian Opera, 
suggested the usual course pursued by beggars who had been 
Bet upon horseback, wondered how Madeleine's relations 
could endure the state of things which existed under their 
very eyes, and thought that the time could not be very far 
distant when Captain Kilsyth — who had the name, as you 
very well know, my dear, for being so very particular in such 
matters, not to say strait-laced — would call his brother-in- 
law to account for his goings on. The other portion of 
society was more liberal, so far at least as the gentleman 
was concerned. What, it asked, was the position of a man 
who found his newly-married wife evidently preoccupied 
with the loss of some previous flirtation ? "What was to be 
expected from a man who had found Dead-Sea apples instead 
of fruit, and utter indifference instead of conjugal love and 
domestic happiness ? The nous-autres feeling penetrated 
into the discussion. It was not likely that a young man 
who had been brought up in a different sphere, who had 
been, if what people said was correct, a clerk or something 
of the kind to a lawyer in Edinburgh, could comprehend the 
necessity for such a course of conduct under the circum- 
stances as the belonging to their class would naturally 
dictate. If Mr Caird had made a mistake — well, mistakes 
were often made, often without getting the equivalent which 
he, in allying himself with an old family in the position of 
the Kilsyths, had secured for himself. But they were 
always borne sub silentio — at all events the sufferer, however 
he might seek for distraction in private, did not let the mis- 
take which he had made, and the means he had adopted for 
his own compensation, become such common gossip-matter 
for the world at large. 


Such conversation as this is not indulged in without its 
reaching the ears of those most concerned. "When one says 
most concerned, one means those likely to take most concern 
in it. It is doubtful if Madeleine's ears were ever disturbed 
by any of the rumours in which she played so prominent a 
part. It is certain that her husband never knew of the in- 
terest which he excited in so many of his acquaintances- 
equally certain that if he had known it, the knowledge thus 
gained would not have caused him an emotion. Lady Mu- 
riel, however, was fully acquainted with all that was said. 
The world, which did her homage as one of its queens of 
fashion, took every possible occasion to remind her that she 
was mortal, and found no better opportunity than in point- 
ing out the mistake which she had made in the marriage of 
her step-daughter and the settlement in life of her protegf. 
Odd words dropped here and there, sly hints, innuendoes 
phrases capable of double meaning, and always receiving the 
utmost perversion which could be employed in their warping 
nay, in some instances, anonymous letters — the basest shifts 
to which treachery can stoop, — all these ingredients were 
made use of for the poisoning of Lady Muriel's cup of life, 
and for the undermining of that pinnacle to which society 
had raised her. 

Nor was Eonald Kilsyth ignorant of the world's talk and 
the world's expressions. Isolate himself as much as he 
would, be as self-contained and as solitary as an oyster, fend 
off confidence, shut his ears to gossip, — all he could do was 
to exclude pleasant' things from him ; the unpleasant had 
penetrating qualities, and invariably made their way. He 
knew well enough what was said in every kind of society 
about Mr and Mrs Ramsay Caird. "When he dined away 
from the mess, he had a curiously unpleasant feeling that 
advantage would be taken of his absence to discuss that un- 
fortunate menage. "When he dined at his club, he had a 
morbid horror lest the two men seated at the next table 


should begin to talk about it. The disappointment about 
the -whole thing had been so great as to make him morbidly 
sensitive on the point, to ascribe to it far greater interest 
than it really possessed for the world in general, and to 
allow it to prey on his mind, and seriously to influence his 
health. It had been such a consummate failure ! And he, 
as he owned to himself, — he was primarily responsible for 
the marriage ! If Lady Muriel had not had his assistance, 
she would never have carried her point of getting Madeleine 
for Ramsay Caird ; one word from him would have nipped 
that acquaintance in the bud, would have stopped the com- 
pletion of the project, no matter how far it had advanced. 
And he had never said that word. Why ? He comforted 
himself by thinking that Caird had never shown himself in 
his real character before his marriage ; but the fact was, 
although Ronald would not avow it, that he had been hood- 
winked by the deference so deftly paid to him both by his 
step-mother and her confederate, who had consulted him on 
all points, and cajoled him and used him as a tool in their 
hands. He thought over all this very bitterly now ; he saw 
how he had been treated, and stamped and raved in impotent 
fury as he remembered how he had been led on step by step, 
and how weak and vacillating he must have appeared in a 
matter in which he was most deeply interested, and which, 
during the whole of its progress, he thought he was managing 
so well. 

To no man in London could such a fiasco as his sister's 
marriage had turned out be more oppressively overwhelming, 
productive of more thorough disgust and annoyance, than to 
Ronald Kilsyth. The fiasco was so glaring, that at once two 
points on which the young man most prided himself stood 
impugned. Every one knew that dear old Kilsyth himself 
would not have interfered in such a matter, and that the 
final settlement of it, after Lady Muriel's light skirmishing 
had been done, must have been left to Ronald, who was the 

2 B 2 


sensible one of the family. He had then, in the eyes of the 
world, either had so little care for his sister's future as to 
sanction her marriage with a very ineligible man, or so little 
natural perspicacity and sharpness as to be deceived by such 
a shallow pretender as Caird. That any one should enter- 
tain either of these suppositions was gall and wormwood to 
Ronald. He whose reputation for clear-headedness and far- 
seeing had only been equalled by the esteem in which by all 
men he had been held for his strict honesty and probity and 
the Spartan quality of his virtue, — that he should be sus- 
pected — more than suspected, in certain quarters accused — 
of folly or want of proper caution where his sister was con- 
cerned, was to him inexpressibly painful. Perhaps the 
worst thing of all was to know that people knew that he 
was aware of what was said, and that he suffered under the 
tittle-tattle and the gossip. He tried to forget that idea, to 
dispel and do away with it by changing his usual habits ; he 
went about ; he was seen — for one week — oftener in society 
than he had been for months previously: but the morbid 
feeling came upon him there ; he fancied that people noticed 
his presence, and attributed it to its right cause ; that every 
whisper which was uttered in the room had Madeleine for 
its burden ; that the whole company had their minds filled 
with him, and were thinking of him either pityingly, sarcas- 
tically, or angrily, according to their various temperaments. 
He avoided Brook-street at this time as religiously as he 
avoided the little residence in Squab-street. He did not 
particularly care about meeting his father, though he thought 
Kilsyth would probably know nothing of what so many were 
talking of; and he had resolutely shunned a meeting with 
Lady Muriel, for Ronald in his inmost heart did his step- 
mother a gross injustice. He fully believed that she was 
perfectly cognisant of Ramsay Caird'sreal character; whereas, 
in truth, no one had been more astonished at what her 
-protege had proved himself than Lady Muriel — and very few 


more distressed. Eouald, however, thought otherwise ; and 
being a gentleman, he carefully avoided meeting her ladyship, 
lest he might lose his temper and forget himself. The Kil- 
syth blood was hot, and even in the heir to the name there 
had been occasions when it was pretty nearly up to boiling- 

Tor the same reason he avoided all chance of running 
across his brother-in-law. In common with most men of 
strong feelings always kept in a state of repression, Ronald 
Kilsyth was particularly sensitive ; and the idea of the 
publicity already accruing to this wretched business being 
increased by any possible tattle of open rupture between 
members of the family horrified him dreadfully. If he did 
not dare trust himself with Lady Muriel, he should certainly 
have to exercise a much stronger command over himself in 
the event of his ever meeting Ramsay Caird. Every govern- 
ing principle of his life rose up within him against that 
young man ; and on the first occasion of his hearing — acci- 
dentally, as men often hear things of the greatest import to 
themselves — of Mr Caird's doings, Ronald Kilsyth had for the 
whole night paced his barrack-room, trying in every possible 
form to pick such a quarrel with Caird as might leave no real 
clue to its origin, and enable him to work out his revenge 
without compromising any one. But he soon saw the futility 
of any such proceeding, which, carried out between sous- 
officiers, might form the basis of a French drama, but which 
was impossible of execution between English gentlemen, 
and elected absence from Squab-street, and total ignorance 
of Mr Caird's mode of procedure, as his best aids to a tolerably 
quiet life for himself. Besides, absence from Squab-street 
meant absence from Madeleine ; and absence from Madeleine 
meant a great deal to Ronald Kilsyth. He, in his self-examin- 
ation, found Madeleine's behaviour since her marriage the 
one point on which he could neither satisfy himself by a 
feeling of pity nor bluster himself into a fit of indignation- 


He knew well enough what her abstracted manner, her dul- 
ness, her sad weary preoccupied mind, her impossibility to 
join in the nonsensical talk floating around her,— he knew, 
well enough, what all those symptoms meant. If he had ever 
doubted that his sister had a strong affection for IVilmot — 
and it is due to his perspicacity to say that no such doubt 
ever crossed his mind — he would have been certain of it now. 
If he had ever hoped — and he had hoped very earnestly — 
that any girlish predilection which his sister might have 
entertained for Wilmot was merely girlish and evanescent, 
and would pass away with her marriage, he could not more 
effectually have blighted any such chance than by marrying 
her to the man whose suit he, her brother, had himself urged 
her to accept. Perhaps under happier circumstances that 
childish dream would have passed away, merged into a more 
happy realization ; but a3 it had eventuated, Eonald knew 
perfectly well that Madeleine could not but contrast the 
blank loveless present with the bright past, could not but 
compare the days when she now sat solitary and uncared for 
with those when the man for whom she had such intense 
veneration — for whom, as she doubtless had afterwards dis- 
covered, she had such honest, earnest love — had given up 
everything else to attend to her and shield her in the hour of 
danger. With such feelings as these at his heart, it was but 
little wonder that Eonald sedulously avoided being thrown 
in Madeleine's way. 

He had always been so " odd ; " his comings and goings 
in Brook-street had been so uncertain; it was so utterly 
impossible to tell when he might or might not be expected 
at his father's house, that his prolonged absence caused no 
astonishment to any of the members of the family, nor to 
any one of their regular visitors. Lady Muriel, indeed, with 
a kind of guilty consciousness of participation in his feelings, 
guessed the reason why her stepson eschewed their society ; 
but no one else. And Lady Muriel, who from her first sua- 


piciou of Ramsay Caird's conduct — suspicion not entertained, 
be it understood, until some time after the marriage — had 
looked forward with great fear and trembling to a grand 
iclaircissement, a searching explanation with Ronald, in which 
she would have to undergo an amount of cross-questioning 
in his hardest manner, and a judgment which would inevitably 
be pronounced against her, was rather glad that this whim 
had taken possession of Bonald, and that her dies irce was 
consequently indefinitely deferred. But it happened one day 
that Ronald, walking down to Knightsbridge barracks, camo 
upon his father waiting to cross the road ac the corner of 
Sloane-street, and came upon him so " plump " and so sud- 
denly, that retreat was impossible. The young man accord- 
ingly, seeing how matters stood, advanced, and took his father 
by the hand. 

In an instant he saw that one other, at all events, had 
suffered from the — well, there was no other word for it — the 
disgrace, the discredit, to say the least of it, which had fallen 
on the family during the past few months. Kilsyth seemed 
aged by ten years. The light had died out of his bright blue 
eyes, and left them glassy and colourless, with red rims and 
heavy dark "pads" underneath each. The bright healthy 
colour had faded from his cheeks, and few would have recog- 
nized the lithe and active mountaineer, the never-tiring 
pedestrian, and the keen shot, in the bent and shrunken form 
which stood half-leaning on, half-idly dallying with, its stick. 
He pressed his son's hand warmly, however ; and something 
like his well-known kind old smile lighted up his face as he 
exclaimed — 

" Ronald, I'm glad to see you, my boy ! very glad ! You've 
not been near us for ages ! And not merely that — I can 
understand that — we're not very good company for young 
people now in .Brook-street ; there's little inducement to 
come there now since poor Maddy has left us. But I don't 
think that I was ever half so long in London without dining 


with you as your guest over there at the barracks. I used 
to like an outing with your fellows there ; it brisked me up, 
and made me forget what an old fogie I am growing ; but — 
but you haven't given me the chance this time, sir, — you 
haven't given me the chance ! " 

There was something in the evidently strained attempt at 
cheeriness with which his father said these words which con- 
trasted so strongly with the depression under which it was 
impossible for him to prevent showing he was labouring, and 
with the marked alteration in his personal appearance, that 
touched Eonald deeply. His heart sank within him, and his 
tongue grew dry ; he had to clear his throat before he replied 
— and even then huskily — 

" It is a long time since we've met, sir ; and I confess 
the fault is mine — entirely mine. The fact is I've been very 
much engaged lately — regimental duty, and— and some 
business in which I've been particularly interested — business 
which I fear you would hardly care about — and — " 

" Likely enough, my dear boy ! " said Kilsyth, coming to 
his rescue, as he floundered about in a way very unusual to 
him. " Likely enough ! I never did care particularly for a 
good many of your pursuits, you know, Eon aid, though I 
tried very hard at one time — when you were quite a lad, I 
recollect — to imderstand them and share in them. But that 
was not to be. I was not bright enough. I'm of the old 
school, and what we old fellows cared about seems to have 
died out with our youth, and never to have interested any- 
body ever since. I don't say this complainingly — not in the 
least — but it was deuced odd. However, I'm very glad I've 
met you, Honald, for I have long wished — and lately, within 
the last few days more especially — to have a talk with you, a 
serious talk, my boy, which will take up some little time. 
Have you half-an-hour you can give me now ? I shall be 
very glad if you have." 

It was coming at last. He had but put off the evil day, 


and now it was upon him. "Well — better to hear himself 
condemned by his father than by any one else. Let it come. 

" My time is yours, sir," said llonald, almost echoing 
Wilmot, as he remembered, on the day of that eventful in- 
terview in Charles-street. " I shall of course be delighted 
to give my best attention to anything you may have to 

" "Well, then, let's take a turn in the Park opposite," 
said Kilsyth, hooking his arm into his son's. " Not among 
the people there, where we should be perpetually interrupted 
by having to speak to those folks who hail one so good- 
naturedly at every step, but away on the grass there, by 

The two men passed through the Albert Gate, and turn- 
ing to the right, struck on to the piece of turf lying between 
the Eow and the Drive. A few children were playing 
about, a few nursemaids were here and there gossiping to- 
gether ; else they had it all to themselves. 

"I want to talk to you," commenced Kilsyth, "about 
your sister — about Maddy. I have been a good deal to 
Squab-street in the last few weeks, and I've thought Maddy 
looks anything but as I should wish her to look. Has that 
struck you, Ronald ? " 

" I — I'm sorry to say that I haven't seen Madeleine for 
some little time, sir. The business which, as I just ex- 
plained to you, has prevented my coming to Brook-street 
has equally prevented me from calling on her." 

" Of course, yes ! I beg pardon — I forgot ! "Well, Maddy 
looks anything but well. For a long time past — indeed 
ever since her marriage — she has been singularly low- 
spirited and dull ; very unlike her usual self." 

" I don't know that that is much to be wondered at. 
Madeleine was always a peculiar girl, in the sense that she 
had an extraordinary attachment for her home; and the 
fact of being parted from you, with whom all her life has 


been passed, and to whom she is devotedly attached, may- 
explain the cause of any little temporary lowness of spirits." 

" Te-es, that's true so far; hut it's not that; I wish I 
could think it was. What you say, though, Ronald, I think 
gets somewhat near the real cause. Maddy has been unlike 
most other girls of her class ; much more homely and do- 
mestic, thinking much more of those around her with whom 
she has been brought into daily contact than of the outside 
pleasures, if I may so call them. And she's had a great 
deal of love. She's accustomed to it, and can't get on with- 
out it. Love's just as essential to Madeleine as light to the 
flowers, or the keen clear air to the stags. She's had it all 
her life, and she would die without it. And, Ronald, I'll 
say to you what I'd not say to another soul upon earth, but 
what's lying heavy on my heart this month past — I doubt 
much whether she gets it, my boy ; I doubt much whether 
she gets it." 

The old man stopped suddenly in his walk, and clutched 
his son's arm, and looked up earnestly into his son's face. 
There was so much sharp agony in the glance, hurried and 
fleeting though it was, that Ronald scarcely knew what to 
say in reply to the quivering jerky speech. 

His father saved him from his embarrassment by con- 
tinuing : " I don't think she gets the love that she's been 
accustomed to, and that she had a right to expect. I tell 
you that Maddy is not happy, Ronald ; that her little heart 
aches and pines for want of sympathy, for what of appre- 
ciation, for want of love. I'm an old fellow ; but in this 
case I suppose my affection for my darling has opened my 
eyes, and I can see it all plainly." 

" Don't you think, sir, that your undoubted devotion to 
Madeleine may, on the other hand, have had the effect of 
warping your judgment a little, and prejudicing you in the 
matter ? Though I've not seen my sister very lately, when 
I did see her I confess I did no't "observe any marked dif- 


ference iu her — any difference at all from what she has been 
during the last few months." 

" The last few months ! That's just it ; that's just what 
— however, we'll come to that presently. I know you're 
wrong, Eonald; I know that Madeleine is thoroughly 
changed and altered from the bright darling girl of the old 
days. And I know why, my boy ! God help me, I know 
why ! " 

Again Eonald essayed to speak, and again he only mut- 
tered unintelligibly. 

" Because her home is unhappy," said Kilsyth, stopping 
short in his walk, and dropping his voice to a whisper; 
" because the marriage into which she was — was persuaded 
— I will use no harsh words — has proved a wretched one 
for her ; because her husband has proved himself to be — 
God forgive me — a scoundrel ! " 

" Tou speak strongly, sir, notwithstanding your pro- 
fessions," said Eonald, on whom warm words of any kind 
had always the effect of rendering him even more cold and 
stoical than was his wont. 

" I speak strongly because I feel strongly, Eonald ! I 
don't expect you to share my feelings in this matter, but I 
do expect you to have some of your own, although you may 
not show them. !Por God's sake cast aside for a few min- 
utes that cloak of frost in which you always shroud your- 
self, and let us talk as father and son about one who is 
daughter to the one and sister to the other ! " 

Eonald looked up in surprise. He had never seen his 
father so much excited before. 

" I have no doubt about this," continued Kilsyth. " I 
have hoped against hope, and I have shut my- eyes against 
what I have seen, hoping they might be fancies ; and my 
ears against what I have heard, hoping they might be lies. 
But I can befool myself in this manner no longer. Ah ! to 
think of my darling thus — to think of my darling thus ! " 


Tears started to the old man's eyes, and he smote fiercely 
with his stick upon the ground. 

" If you are really persuaded of this, sir," said Ronald, 
" it is our duty to take immediate measures. Mr Caird must 
be taught — " 

" "Who brought him to our house ? " asked Kilsyth in a 
storm of passion ; " or rather — not that — but when he was 
brought, who backed him up and encouraged him in every 
way ? You, Ronald ! you — you — you ! By your advice he 
was permitted free access to the house, was constantly thrown 
in Madeleine's company, and gave the world to understand 
that he was going to marry her. I postponed the settling 
of the engagement once ; but the second time, when — when 
I fancied that the child might have had some other views — 
might have formed some other fancy — you persuaded me to 
agree, and — " 

" You should apportion the blame properly, sir," said 
Ronald in his coldest tones. " I did not introduce Caird to 
your house, nor was I the principal advocate of his cause." 

" You're quite right, Ronald, quite right — and I've been 
hasty and passionate and inconsiderate, I know ; but if you 
knew how utterly heartbroken I am — " 

" I think, with regard to Mr Caird," interrupted Ronald, 
"the best plan will be — " 

" No, no ; not Caird now — leave him for the present ; 
afterwards we'll do for him. Now about Maddy — nothing 
but about Maddy — and not about her dulness, or anything 
of that kind, nor — worse, much worse — you recollect — no, 
you didn't know ; I think you weren't there — what "Wilmot, 
Dr Wilmot, said to me at Kilsyth about her chest ? He 
told me that one of her lungs was threatened — that the lungs 
were her weak point ; and he asked me whether any of our 
family had suffered from such disease." 

" Well, sir," said Ronald, anxiously now. 

" This disease has been gaining ground for months past ; 


I'm sure of it. I have had my opinions for some time ; but 
Maddy never complains, you know, and I didn't like to ask 
her about her symptoms, lest she might be frightened. But 
■within the last few days she has been so bad that it has been 
evident to us all, to myself and — and Lady Muriel, that the 
disease was on the increase. She caught cold at the theatre 
the other night, and her cough is now frightful. I have 
seen her just now, poor darling ! She was on the sofa, but 
very weak — all they could do to get her there — and when 
the paroxysms of coughing come on it's awful to see her — 
she hardly seems to have the strength to live through them. 
My poor darling Maddy ! " 

" What do the doctors say, sir ? "Who is attending 

" Whittaker — Dr Whittaker — a very good man in his 
way, I daresay, but — I don't know — somehow I don't think 
much of him. Now that is the very point I wanted to talk 
to you about. Somehow — how, I never understood — some- 
body — I don't know who — offended Dr "Wilmot, a man to 
whom we were under the greatest obligation for kindness 
rendered ; and though he has been back in England for some 
time, he has never called in Brook-street, nor on Madeleine 
even, since his return. There is no one in whom I have such 
faith ; there is no one, I am convinced, who understands 
Madeleine's constitution like "Wilmot ; and I want to know 
what is the best method for us to put our pride in our 
pockets and implore him to come and see her." 

" Tou were not thinking of asking Dr Wilmot to visit 
Madeleine ? " 

" I was indeed. What objection could there possibly 

" I suppose you know that he has retired from practice, 
that he even declines to attend consultations, since he 
inherited Mr Foljambe's money ? " 

" I know that ; but I am perfectly certain, from what I 


saw of him at Kilsyth, that if I were to go to him and tell 
him the state of affairs, he would overlook anything that 
may have annoyed him, and come and see Maddy at once." 

" That would be a condescension ! " said Ronald. "Per- 
haps it might be on the other side that the ' overlooking ' 
might be required. However, there are other reasons, sir, 
why I, for one, should think it highly inadvisable that Dr 
"Wilrnot should be requested to visit my sister." 

" What are they, then, in Heaven's name, man ? " said 
Kilsyth petulantly. "You don't seem to see that the 
matter is of the utmost urgency." 

" It is because of its urgency that I speak of it at all ; 
it is by no means a pleasant topic for me or for any of us. 
Tou spoke to me just now, sir, in warm words of the part I 
took in pressing Ramsay Caird to visit at your house, and 
supporting his claims for Madeleine. I don't know that I 
was at all eager for it at first ; I'm certain I never cared 
particularly for Ramsay Caird ; but I freely own that lat- 
terly I did my best for him, convinced that a speedy alliance 
with him was the only chance of rescuing Madeleine from 
another offer which I was sure was impending — which 
would have been far more objectionable, and yet which she 
would have accepted." 

" Another offer ? — from whom ? " 

" Prom the gentleman of whom you entertain so high 
an opinion — from Dr Wilmot." 

" From "Wilmot ! An offer from Wilmot to Madeleine 1 
Tou must be mad, Ronald ! " 

" I never was more sane in my life, sir. I repeat, I am 
perfectly certain Dr Wilmot was in love with Madeleine, 
that he would have made her an offer, and that she would 
have accepted him." 

"And why should she not have accepted him? God 
knows I would have welcomed him for a son-in-law, and — " 

"I scarcely think this is the time to enter into that 


subject, sir ; but now that I have enlightened you, I presume 
you see the objection to calling in Dr Wilrnot to my sister." 
" I see the difficulty, Eonald ; but the objection and the 
difficulty shall be overcome. You shall yourself go and see 
Wilmot; and I know he'll not refuse you." 

" Don't you think, sir, before I take upon myself to do 
that, it would be, to say the least of it, desirable that we 
should consult Madeleine's husband? " 

" Indeed I do not, Eonald," said Kilsyth ; " indeed I do 
not. In giving up my daughter to Mr Caird I yielded 
privileges which I alone had enjoyed from her birth, and 
which I would gladly have retained until her death or mine. 
But I did not give up the privilege of watching over her 
health, more especially when it has been so shamefully neg- 
lected ; and I shall claim the power'to use it now." 

" And you think, after all I have told you, that there is 
no objection to asking Dr "Wilmot to visit Madeleine? " 

" See here, Eonald ! — I will be very frank with you in this 
matter — I think that if I had known all you have told me 
now seven or eight months ago, we should never have had 
this conversation. Eor I firmly believe that — granting your 
ideas were correct — if my darling had married Wilmot, he 
would have taken care both of her health and her happiness, 
both of which have been so grossly neglected." 

The father and son took their way in silence back across 
the grass, each filled with his own reflections. They had 
only reached the Albert Gate, and were about to pass 
through it into the street, when a brougham passed them, 
and a gentleman sitting in it gravely saluted them. 

" Good heavens !" exclaimed Kilsyth ; " there's Wil- 
mot ! " 

"Yes," said Eonald. He was surprised, and secretly 
agitated by the sight of the man towards whom his feelings 
had insensibly changed, and was hardly master of his 


The carriage had passed on, but Kilsyth was standing 
still at the crossing. 

" What an extraordinary chance— what a wonderful 
Providence, I should say ! " said Kilsyth ; " the only man I 
have confidence in — fancy his passing by just at this time t 
Thank G-od ! No chance of his calling at Brook-street 
before he goes home, as he used to do ; we must go on to 
his house at once and leave a message for him." Here the 
impetuous old gentleman hailed a hansom, which drew up 
abruptly in dangeroiis proximity to his toes. 

" Stop a moment," said Eonald. " Tou had better get 
home, in case I can persuade Dr "Wilmot to call, and tell 
Lady Muriel ; it will save time. I will go on to his house." 
" All right," said Kilsyth in a voice of positive cheerful- 
ness. The mere sight of "Wilmot had acted like a strong 
cordial upon him — had restored his strength and his con- 

"Don't I recollect how he saved her before, when she 
was much worse, when she was actually in the clutch of a 
mortal disease ? And he will save her again ! he will save 
her again! " said the old man to himself as he drove home- 
wards. He went directly to Lady Muriel's boudoir, and 
communicated to her the glad tidings of Eonald's mission, 
which had filled him with hope and joy. 

The rich red colour flew to Lady Muriel's cheek, and the 
light shone in her dark eyes. To her too the news was 
precious, delicious ; but not so the intelligence which formed 
its corollary. What ! Eonald Kilsyth gone to solicit Dr 
Wilmot's attendance on his sister ! Eonald Kilsyth bringing 
about the renewal of this danger which she, apparently ably 
assisted by fate, had put far from her ! What availed 
Wilmot's return, if he might see Madeleine again — might be 
with her ? What availed it that Madeleine was no longer in 
the house with him, that she was free to see him, to enjoy 
lus society undisputed ? As Kilsyth saw how her face 

TOO LATE. 383 

lighted up, how her colour rose, ho rejoiced in her sympathy 
with his feelings, with his hope and relief, he blessed her in 
his heart for her love for his Madeleine. And she listened 
to him, dominated in turn by irresistible joy and by burning 



That there can be such a thing as a broken heart ; that 
love, misguided, misdirected, fixed upon the wrong object, 
and never finding " its earthly close," having to pine in 
secret, and to take out its revenge in saying deteriorating 
and spiteful things of its successful rival, ever kills, is now-a- 
days generally accepted as nonsense. In the daily round of 
the work-a-day life there are too many things hourly crop- 
ping up to allow a man of any spirit to permit himself to hug 
to his bosom the corpse of a dead joy, or to bemoan over the 
reminiscence of vanished happiness. He must be up and 
doing ; he must go in to his business, read his newspaper, 
give his orders to his clerks, write his letters — or at least 
sign them ; go to his club, eat his dinner, and go through hia 
ordinary routine, each item of which fills up his time, and 
prevents him from dwelling on the atrocious perfidy of the 
being who has deceived him. The evening has generally 
been considered a favourable time for indulging in those 
reflections which, by their bitterness, bring about the ana- 
tomical consequences so much to be deplored ; but your 
modern Strephon either forgets his own woes in reading of 
the fictitious woes of others, duly supplied by Mr Mudie, op 
in witnessing them depicted on the stage, or in listening to 

the cynical wisdom of the smoking-room, which, if he duly 

2 o 


imbibe it, leads him rather to think he has had a wonderful 
escape ; or in the friendly game of whist, when deference to 
his partner's interest, to say the least of it, requires that he 
should keep his thoughts from wandering into that subject 
so redolent of bitter-sweet. The heart-breaking business is 
out of date, it is rococo, it is bygone ; and one might as well 
look to see the brazen greaves of bold Sir Lancelot flashing 
in our English imitation of the sunshine, and to hear the 
knight singing " Lirra-lirra ! " as he rode up the banks of 
the Serpentine, as to believe in its existence now-a-days. 

So that those who may have imagined that Chudleigh 
Wilmot had given up all relish of and interest in life must 
have been grievously disappointed. "When he first went 
abroad grief and rage were in his heart, and he cared but 
little what became of him. When he first received the news 
of Mr Foljambe's bequest there sprung up in him a new 
feeling of hope and joy, such as he had never had before, 
which lasted but a very few hours, being uprooted and cast 
out by the announcement of Madeleine's marriage in the 
newspaper. When he returned to London his mind was so 
far made up, that he contemplated very calmly the pos- 
sibility of such an existence — without Madeleine, that is to 
say — as a few hours previously he had deemed impossible ; 
and though on first entering on the new life the old ghosts 
which " come to trouble joy " would occasionally await him ; 
and though after that chance meeting with Madeleine and 
Lady Muriel in the Park he was for some little time much 
disturbed, yet, on the whole, he managed to live his life 
quietly, soberly, peacefully, and not unhappily. 

The man who, after years of active employment, inherits 
or obtains a competency, and straightway lies upon his oars 
and looks round him for the remainder of his life, immediately 
falls into a sad way, and comes speedily to a bad end. Wil- 
mot was quite sufficient man of the world to be aware of 
this ; and though he had retired from the active practice of 

TOO LATE. 387 

his profession, indeed from practising in any way, he still 
kept up his medical studies, and now became one of the most 
sought-after and most influential contributors to the best of 
our scientific publications. In this way he found exercise 
enough for his mental faculties, which had been somewhat 
burdened and overtasked with all the hard work which he 
had gone through in his early life ; and as for the rest, he 
found he had done society a great injustice in estimating its 
resources so meanly as he had been used to do. By degrees 
he gave up the rule which he had at first kept so strictly, 
never to go into ladies' society ; and the first plunge made, 
he felt that he enjoyed himself therein more than in any 
other. He found that his reputation, which had been con- 
siderably increased by the literary work on which he had 
recently engaged, smoothed the way for him on first intro- 
duction.; and that the fact of his being a middle-aged 
widower secured for him that pleasant license accorded to 
fogies, of which only fogies are thoroughly conscious and 
appreciative. Instead of losing caste or position, he felt 
that he had gained it ; all the best people who had been his 
patients in the old days kept up their acquaintance with 
him, and asked him to their houses ; and after the publica- 
tion of a paper by him on a momentous subject of the day, 
containing new and striking views which at once commanded 
public attention and attracted public comment, he was placed 
on a Royal Commission among some of the first men of the 
time, and an intimation was conveyed to him that Govern- 
ment would be glad to avail themselves of his services. 

And the old wearing, tearing feeling of love and dis- 
appointment and regret which had blighted so many hours 
of his life, and which he thought at one time would sap life 
itself, was gone, was it ? "Well, not entirely. It had been 
an era in his life which was never to be forgotten, which was 
never to be otherwise renewed. Night after night he saw 
pretty charming girls, all of whom would have been pleased 



by a flattering word from the celebrated Dr Wilmot, many 
of wbom would have listened more than complacently to 
anything he might have chosen to say to them, — ■" he is very 
rich, my dear, and goes into excellent society." But he 
never said anything, because he never thought anything of 
the kind. Sometimes when alone, in the pauses of his work, 
he would look up from off his book or his paper, and then 
straightway he would see— although his thoughts had been 
previously engrossed with something entirely different — a 
bright flushed face, with blue eyes, and a nimbus of golden 
hair surrounding it. But for a moment he would see it, and 
then it would fade away ; but in that moment how many 
memories had it evoked ! Sometimes he would take from 
a special drawer in his desk a small knot of blue ribbon, and 
a thin letter, frayed in its folds, and bearing traces of having 
been for some time carried in the pocket. Slight memorials 
these of the only love of a lifetime which had now extended 
to some forty years ; not much to show in return for an all- 
absorbing passion which at one time threatened to have dire 
effect on his health, on his life — yet cherished all the more, 
perhaps, on account of their insignificance ! These were 
memorials of Miss Kilsyth, be it understood : of Mrs Earn- 
say Caird Chudleigh always rigidly repeated to himself that 
he knew nothing — that he never would know anything. 

But one morning Chudleigh Wilmot was sitting in his 
library after his breakfast, his slippered feet resting idly on 
a chair, he himself in placid enjoyment of the newspaper and 
a cigar, which, since he had freed himself from professional 
restraint, he had taken as a pleasant solace, when suddenly, 
and without being in any way led up to, the subject of his 
dream of the previous night flashed suddenly across his mind. 
It was about Madeleine. He remembered that he had seen 
her lying outstretched on her bed dead ; there were Christ- 
mas berries in her golden hair, and the robe which covered 
her was embroidered with the initial letters of his name 

TOO LATE. 389 

twisted into a monogram, such as was engraved on the 
binding of a present of books which he had recently received 
from one of his great friends, and on the little finger of her 
hand, which lay outside the coverlet, was Mabel's signet-ring. 
He remembered all this vividly now ; remembered too how, 
when he had gone forward with the intention of taking off 
the ring, a female form, clad in dark sweeping garments, but 
with its face shrouded, had risen by the bedside and motioned 
him away. He remembered how he felt persuaded, although 
the face was hidden, that the form was known to him — was 
that of Henrietta Prendergast ; how he had persisted in ap- 
proaching ; and how at length the muffled form had spoken, 
saying only these words, " It was not to be ! " "What fol- 
lowed he could not remember : there was a kind of chaos, out 
of which rose figures of Whittaker and Colonel Jefferson, 
the man whom he had met in Scotland, and Ronald Kilsyth 
in full uniform, with his sword drawn and pointed at his 
(Chudleighs) heart ; and then he had waked, and the whole 
remembrance of the dream had departed from him until that 
moment, when simultaneously the door of his room was 
thrown open, and Eonald Kilsyth stood before him. 

That was no dream. Wilmot thought at first that his 
waking fancies were running in the track of his sleeping 
thoughts ; but there was Eonald Kilsyth, somewhat changed 
from the man he remembered — less grim and stoical, a trifle 
less cynical, and a trifle more human, — but still Eonald 
Kilsyth standing before him. 

"' You are surprised to see me, Dr TVilmot," said Eonald, 
advancing hesitatingly. — " surprised to see me here, after — 
after so long an interval." 

" On the last occasion of our meeting, Captain Kilsyth," 
replied Wilmot, " you were good enough to tell me that you 
objected to the ordinary set phrases of society, and preferred 
straightforward answers. I have not forgotten that interview, 
or anything that passed therein ; and I Lave every desire, be- 


lieve me, to accommodate you — at least so far as that wish is 
concerned. My straightforward answer to your question is, 
I am surprised to see you in this house." 

" I looked for no other reply. Tou seem to forget that, 
even so far ago as our last meeting, you were pleased to fall 
in with my whim, and to answer me with perfect candour, 
however painful it might have been — it was— to you. That 
conversation will doubtless be remembered by you, Dr Wil- 

What did this mean ? "Was the man come here, in the 
assurance of his own cold, calm stoicism, to triumph over 
him ? Whence this most indecorous outrage on his privacy, 
this insult to his feelings ? Of all men, this man knew how 
he had suffered, and how he had borne his sufferings. Why, 
then, was he here, at such a moment, with such words on his 

" I perfectly remember that conversation, Captain Kilsyth," 
was all Wilmot replied. 

" Tou will spare me, then, a great deal of acute pain in 
referring to it," said Eonald. "Eefer to it I must, but my 
reference will be of the most general kind. I sought that 
interview beseeching you " — Wilmot gave a short half-laugh, 
which Eonald noticed — " Well, you stickle for terms, it ap- 
pears, — demanding of you to give up a pursuit in which you 
were then engaged — a pursuit to which you attached the 
greatest interest, but which I knew would not only be futile 
in its results to you, but would be fraught with distress and 
danger to one who was very dear to me. Tou acquiesced in 
my reasoning — at great sorrow and disappointment to your- 
self, I know — and you gave up the pursuit." 

" Tou are very good to make such large allowances for 
me, Captain Kilsyth," said Wilmot in a hard dry voice. 
" Tes, I gave ib up ; at great sorrow and disappointment 
to myself, as you are good enough to say." 

" I can fully understand the feelings which now influence 

TOO LATE. 391 

you, Dr Wilmot," said Eonald, far more gently than was his 
wont ; " and, believe me, I do not quarrel with or take ex- 
ception at the tone in which they are now expressed. You 
gave up that pursuit, and you carried out the intention you 
then expressed to me of leaving England." 

" I did. I left England within a fortnight of that con- 
versation. I should not have returned when I did — I should 
not have returned even now, most probably — had it not been 
for circumstances then utterly unforeseen, but of which you 
may have heard, which compelled me to come back at once." 

Eonald bowed ; he had heard of those circumstances, he 

" And now, pardon me, Captain Kilsyth, if I just run 
through what has occurred. It cannot be, you will allow, 
less unpleasant for me to do so than for you ; but since we 
have met again, — at an interview not of my seeking, recol- 
lect, — it is as well that they should be understood. You told 
me in my consulting-room in Charles-street that you had 
reason to believe that your sister, Miss Kilsyth, was — let ua 
put it plainly — loved by me. You said that, or at least you 
implied that, you had reason to believe that she was interested 
in rue. You told me that any question of marriage between us 
was impossible ; first, because I had originally made your 
sister's acquaintance when I was a married man ; secondly, 
because my station in life — you put it kindly, as a gentleman 
would, but that was the gist of your argument — because my 
station in life was inferior to hers. I do not know, Captain 
Kilsyth," continued Wilmot, whose voice grew harder as he 
proceeded, " that your reasoning was so subtle in either case 
as not to admit of controversy, perhaps even of disproof; but 
I felt that when a young lady's name was in question, when 
there was, as you assured me there was — and you were much 
more a man of the world than I — the chance of the slightest 
Blur being cast on her, it was my duty to sacrifice my own 
feelings, however strong they might have been in the matter. 


I did so. To the best of my ability I stamped out my love ; 
I pocketed my pride ; I gave up the best feelings of my 
nature, and I did as you and your friends wished. I went 
abroad, and remained grizzling and feeding on my own heart 
for months. At length I heard of a stroke of good fortune 
which had befallen me. I had previously made for myself 
a name which was respected and honoured ; and you, who 
know more of these things than your compeers, or people in 
your ' set,' can appreciate the worth of the renown which a 
man makes off his own bat by the exercise of his talents ; and 
by the chance which I have named I had now inherited a for- 
tune — a large fortune for any man not born to wealth. When 
this news reached me, my first thought was, Now, surely, my 
coast is clear. I can go back to England ; I can say to Miss 
Kilsyth's friends, I am renowned ; I am rich ; I am, I hope, 
a gentleman in the ordinary acceptation of the term. If this 
young lady will accept my court, why should it not be paid 
her ? Within twenty-four hours of my learning of my in- 
heritance, of my determination, I heard that Miss Kilsyth 
was married." 

" There was no stipulation, I believe, Dr Wilmot — at 
least so far as I am concerned — no compact, no given time 
during which Miss Kilsyth should keep single, in the view 
of anything that might happen to you ? " 

" None in the world ; and so far as Miss Kilsyth is 
concerned— her name is being bandied between us in the 
course of conversation, but it is my duty to say that I have 
not the smallest atom of complaint to make against her. 
To this hour, so far as I know, she is unacquainted with my 
feelings towards her, and can consequently be held responsi- 
ble for no acts of hers at which I may feel aggrieved. But 
you must let me continue. I will not tell you what effect 
the intelligence of Miss Kilsyth's marriage had on me. I 
tead been raised to the highest pinnacle of hope, I was cast 
down into the lowest depths of despair. That concerned no 

TOO LATE. 393 

one but myself. I returned to England. Miss Kilsyth 
■was Mrs Ramsay Caird — I had learned that from the public 
prints— no private announcement, no wedding-cards awaited 
me. The story of my vast inheritance got wind, as such 
things do, and all my friends — all my acquaintance, let 
me say, to use a more fitting word, called on me or sent 
their congratulations. Erom your family, from Mrs Eamsay 
Caird, I had not the slightest notice. The young lady whose 
life — if you credit her father — I had saved a few months 
previously, and her family, who professed themselves so 
grateful, ignored my existence. To this hour I have had no 
communication with Kilsyth, with Lady Muriel, with the 
Eamsay Cairds. I met Lady Muriel and her daughter once 
by the merest accident — an accident entirely unsought by 
me — and they bowed to me as though I were a tradesman 
who had been pestering for his bill. What am I to gather 
from this treatment ? One of two things — either that I was 
regarded merely as the ' doctor' who was called in when 
his services were needed, but who, when he had fulfilled his 
functions and saved the patient, was no more to be recognized 
than the butcher when he had supplied the required joint 
of meat ; or that, by those who knew, or thought they knew, 
the inner circumstances of the case, my moral character was 
so highly esteemed that, guessing I had been in love with 
Miss Kilsyth, it was judged expedient that I should have 
no opportunity of acquaintance with Mrs Eamsay Caird. 
I ask you, Captain Kilsyth, which of these suppositions is 
correct ? " 

"Wilmot spoke with great warmth. Eonald Kilsyth 
looked on with wonder ; he could scarcely imagine that the 
man who now stood erect before him with flashing eye and 
curled lips, every one of whose sentences rang with scorn, 
was the same being who, on the occasion of their last inter- 
view, had urged his suit so humbly, and accepted his dis- 
missal with such resignation. 


After a short pause Eonald said : " You speak strongly, 
Dr Wilmot, very strongly ; but you have great cause for 
annoyance ; and the fact that you have borne it si) long in 
silence of course adds to the violence of your expressions 
now. I think I could soften your opinion — I think I could 
show that my father and Lady Muriel have had some excuse 
for their conduct ; at all events, that they believed they were 
doing rightly in acting as they did. But this is not the time 
for me to enter into that discussion. I have come to you in 
the discharge of a mission which is urgent and imperative. 
Tou know me to be a cold and a proud man, Dr Wilmot, 
and will therefore allow I must be convinced of its urgency 
when I consented to undertake it. I have come to say to 
you — leaving all things for the present unexplained, and 
even in the state in which you have just described them — I 
have come to say to you my sister is very ill ; will you go 
and see her ? " He was standing close by Wilmot as he 
spoke, and saw him change colour, and reel as though he 
would have fallen. 

" Very ill ? " he said, after a moment's pause, with white 
lips and trembling voice. " Mad — Mrs Caird, very ill ? " 

" Very ill ; so ill, that my father is seriously alarmed 
about her ; so ill, that I have obeyed his wishes, and ask you 
to come to her." 

Wilmot was silent for a moment, in thought ; not that 
he had the smallest doubt as to what he should do ; but the 
news had come so suddenly upon him, that he could scarcely 
comprehend its significance. Then he said, " Where is she ? 
in town ? " 

" She is — at her own house. I know I am asking you a 
great deal in begging you to go there, but — you won't refuse 
us, Wilmot ? " 

" I will go at once to your sister, Captain Kilsyth," said 
Wilmot, pressing Eonald's outstretched hand; "and God 
grant I may be of service to her ! " 

TOO LATE. 395 

" I won't say any thanks ; but you know how g 'ateful we 
shall all of us be. Perhaps Madeleine had better be a little 
prepared for your visit ; if you were to meet quite unex- 
pectedly, it might agitate her." 

Wilmot agreed in this, and promised to come that after- 

It was three o'clock — just the hour when Squab-street 
woke up, and became aliye to the fact that day had dawned. 
The light had indeed penetrated the little street at its usual 
hour, and the sun had shone ; but still Squab-street could 
not be considered to be fully awake. Tradesmen had come 
and gone ; area-bells had rung out shrilly ; grooms on horse- 
back had followed the Amazon daughters of the natives to 
the morning-ride in the Eow ; governesses had arrived, and 
had taken their young charges into the neighbouring square 
garden for bodily exercise and mental recreation ; neat little 
broughams had deposited neat little foreigners, whose ad- 
mission into the houses had been immediately followed by 
the thumping of the piano and the screaming of the female 
voice ; but the cream of Squab-street society had not yet 
been seen, save by its female attendants. Three o'clock, 
however, had arrived ; luncheon was o\ev, carriages began 
to rattle up and down, the street resounded with double 
knocks indefinitely prolonged, and all the little passages 
were redolent of hair-powder. All society's mummers were 
acting away at their hardest ; and all who passed up and 
down Squab-street were too much engrossed with themselves 
or their fellow-performers to notice a very blank and mourn- 
ful face looking out at them from the drawing-room window 
of the little house at the corner of the mews. Thi3 was 
Kilsyth's face, which had been planted against the window 
for the previous half-hour, in anxious expectation of Wilmot' s 
arrival. Sick at heart, and overpowered by anxiety, the old 
man had taken his position where he could catch the first 


glimpse of hiin on whom his life now solely rested ; and he 
scanned every vehicle that approached with eager eyes. At 
length a brougham, very different from that in which he 
used to pay his visits in his professional days, perfectly ap- 
pointed, and drawn by horses which even Clement Penrud- 
dock himself could not have designated as " screws," drew 
up at the door, and "Wilmot jumped out. Two minutes 
afterwards Kilsyth, with his eyes full of tears, was holding 
both his friend's hands, and murmuring to him his thanks. 

"I knew you would come!" he said; "I knew you 
would come ! No matter what had happened in the interval 
— no matter that, as they told me, you had retired from 
practice and went nowhere — I said, ' Let him know that 
Madeleine is very ill, and he'll come ! he'll be sure to 
come ! ' " 

"And you said right, my dear sir," said "Wilmot, return- 
ing the friendly pressure ; " and I only hope to Heaven that 
my coming now may be as efficacious as it was when you 
summoned me to Kilsyth — ah, how long ago that seems! 
Now tell me — for my conversation with Captain Kilsyth was 
necessarily brief, and admitted of no details concerning the 
state of his sister — the tendency to weakness on the lungs, 
which I spoke to you about just before I left Scotland, has 
increased, I fear ? " 

" It has been increasing rapidly, we fancy, for the last 
few months ; and she is now never free from a cough, a 
hollow, dreadful cough, the paroxysms of which are some- 
times terrible, and leave her perfectly exhausted. She never 
complains ; on the contrary, she makes light of it, and 
struggles to hide her pain and weakness from us. But I 
fear she is very, very ill ! " The old man's voice sunk as he 
said this, and the tears flowed down his cheeks. 

" Come, come, you must not give way, my good friend 
while there's life there's hope, you know ; and what is very 
dreadful and hopeless to an unprofessional eye has a very 

TOO LATE. 397 

different aspect frequently to those who have studied these 
diseases. I think Captain Kilsyth came here to prepare 
Mrs Caird for my visit ? " 

" O yes, she expects you. She was greatly excited at 
first ; so much so that we were afraid she would do herself 
harm; but I think she is calmer now." 

"Then perhaps I had better go to her at once. It is 
always desirable in these cases as much as possible to avoid 
suspense. Will you show me the way ? " 

They went upstairs together ; and when they arrived at 
the room, Kilsyth opened the door, and left Wilmot to enter 
by himself. As the door closed behind him, he looked up, 
and saw the woman whom he had loved with such devotion 
and yet with such bitter regret. She was lying on a sofa 
drawn across the window, propped up by pillows. She 
turned round at the noise of his entrance ; and as soon as 
she recognized her visitor, her cheeks flushed to the deepest 
crimson. "Wilmot advanced rapidly, with as cheerful a smile 
as he could assume, and took her hand — her hot, wasted, 
and trembling hand — within both of his. She was dreadfully 
changed — he saw that in an instant. There were deep hol- 
lows in her cheeks, and round her blue eyes, which were 
now feverishly bright and lustrous, there were large bistre 
circles. She wore a white dressing-grown trimmed with 
blue, — such a one as was associated with his earliest recol- 
lections of her ; and as he saw her lying back and looking 
up at him with earnest trusting gaze, he was [reminded of 
the first time he saw her in the fever at Kilsyth, but with 
oh what a difference in his hope of saving her ! 

"You see I have come back to you, Mrs Caird," said 
Wilmot, seating himself by the sofa, but still retaining her 
hand. " Tou thought you had got rid of me for ever ; but 
1 am like the bottle-imp in the story, impossible to be sent 
away. Now, own you are surprised to see me ! " 

" I am not indeed, Dr Wilmot," Madeleine replied, in a 


voice the hollow tones? of which went to "Wilmot's heart. Ah, 
how unlike the sweet, clear, ringing tones which he so well 
remembered ! " I am not indeed surprised to see you. I 
had a perfect conviction," she said very calmly, "that I 
should see you once again. At that time — at Kilsyth, you 
remember — I thought I was going to die, you know ; and 
when I knew I should recover, as I lay in. a dreamy half- 
conscious state, I recollect having a presentiment that when 
I did die you would be near me — that you would stand by 
ny bedside, as you used to do, and—" 

" My dearest Mrs Caird, I cannot listen to you ; my— 
n.f child, for Q-od's sake don't talk in that way ! I used to 
h? ,ve to tell you to calm yourself, you know ; but now you 
n ust rouse up- — you must indeed." 

" Oh no, Dr "Wilmot ; not rouse myself to any action, 
ii )t wake up again to the dreary struggle of life ! Oh no ; 
i fc me sink quietly into my grave, but — " 

His hand trembled with emotion as he laid his finger 
lightly on her lip, and his voice was choked and husky as he 
said : " I must insist ! Tou used to obey me implicitly, you 
recollect ; and you must show that you have not forgotten 
your old ways. And now tell me all about yourself." 

Half an hoi^r afterwards, as Wilmot was descending the 
stairs, he met Kilsyth at the drawing-room door, with hag- 
gard looks and trembling hands, waiting for him. They 
went into the drawing-room together ; and the old man, 
carefully closing the door behind him, turned to his friend, 
and said in broken accents : " Well, what do you say ? what 
— what do you think ? " 

"Wilmot's face was very grave, graver than Kilsyth had 
ever seen it, even at the worst time of the fever, as he said : 
" I think it is a very serious case, my dear friend — a very 
serious case." : 

" Has the — the mischief increased much since you de- 
tected it — up in Scotland ? " 

TOO LATE. 399 

" The disease has spread very rapidly — very rapidly in- 

" And you — yon think that she is — in danger ? " 

" I think — it would be useless, it would he unmanly in 
me to withhold the truth from you ; I fear that Mrs Caird's 
state is imminently dangerous, and that — " 

Wilmot stopped, for Kilsyth reeled and almost fell. 
Eecovering himself after a moment, he said, in a low hoarse 
whisper : " Change of climate — Madeira — Egypt — any- 
where ? " 

" No ; she has not sufficient strength to bear the journey. 
If she had spent last winter at Cannes, and had gone on in 
the spring to Egypt — but it is too late." 

" Too late ! " shrieked Kilsyth, bursting into an agony of 
grief; "too late! My darling child! my darling, darling 

" My poor friend," said Wilmot, himself deeply affected, 
" what can I say to comfort you in this awful trial ? what 
can I do ? " 

" One thing ! " said the old man, rising from the sofa on 
which he had thrown himself, " there is one thing you can 
do — visit her, watch her, attend her ; you'll see her again, 
won't you, "Wilmot ? " 

" Constantly — and to the end. She knows that. I made 
her that promise just now ; " and he wrung his friend's hand 
and left him, 

" Dr Wilmot, I believe ? Will you oblige me by two 
minutes' conversation ? Tou don't remember me ? I am 
Mr Caird. In this room, if you please." 

Wilmot, thus inducted into the dining-room, bowed, and 
took the chair pointed out to him. He had not recognized 
Mr Caird at the first glance in the dim little passage ; but 
he knew him again now, albeit Mr Caird's style of dress and 
general bearing were very different from what they had been 


in the old days. Mr Caird had just come in, and brought a 
great quantity of tobacco-smoke in with him ; and a decanter 
of brandy, an empty soda-water bottle, and a fizzing tumbler, 
were on the table before him. 

" I beg your pardon for troubling you, Dr Wilmot ; but 
I didn't know you were expected, or I should of course have 
been here to meet you. The people in Brook-street manage 
all these matters in — well, to say the least of it, in a curious 
way. You have seen Mrs Caird — what is your opinion of 
her ? " 

What Wilmot knew of this man was that he was court- 
eous, gentlemanly, and good-tempered — all in his favour. 
He had heard the rumours current in society about Caird, 
but they had passed unheeded by him ; men of Wilmot's 
calibre pay little attention to rumours. So he said, " Do 
you wish me to tell you my real opinion, Mr Caird ? " 

" Tour real, candid opinion." 

Then Wilmot repeated what he had said to Kilsyth. 

The young man looked at him earnestly for a moment ; 
shook his head as though he had been struck a sudden, stun- 
ning blow ; then muttered involuntarily, as it were, " Poor 
Maddy ! " 

Wilmot rose to go, but Caird stopped him. 

" One question more, Dr Wilmot — how long may — may 
the end be deferred ? " 

"I should fear not more than a few — three or four — 

When Wilmot was gone, Ramsay Caird, having lit a 
fresh cigar, said " Poor Maddy!" again; but this time he 
added, " since it was to be, it will be, about the time ; " and 
for the next hour he occupied himself with arithmetical cal- 
culations in his pocket-book. 



In years to coine it was destined to be a marvel to 
Wilmot how he lived through the days and the weeks of 
that time. If they had not been so entirely filled with 
supreme suffering, with despairing effort — if there had 
been any interval, any relaxation from the immense task 
imposed upon him, he might have broken down under it. 
He might have said, " I will not stay here, and see this 
woman whom I love die in her youth, in her beauty, in the 
very springtide of her life. I will go away. I will not see 
it, at least ; I who have not the right to shut out all others, 
and gather up the last dajrs of her life into a treasury of 
remembrance, in which no. other shall have a share. No 
man is called upon to suffer that which he can avoid. I 
will go ! " But there was no time for "Wilmot, no chance 
for him to reach such a conclusion, to take this supreme 
resolution of despair. The whole weight of the family 
trouble was thrown upon him ; and he, in comparison with 
whose grief that of all the others, except Kilsyth's, was 
insignificant, was the one to whom all looked for support 
and hope. As for Eamsay Caircl, he adopted the easy and 
plausible role of a sanguine man. He had the greatest 
possible respect for Dr Wilmot's opinion, the utmost con- 
fidence in his ability ; but the doctor's talent gave him the 
very best grounds for security. He was quite sure Wil- 
mot would set Madeleine all right. She had youth on her 
side — and only just think how Wilmot had " pulled her 
through " at Kilsyth ! And as nobody occupied themselves 
particularly with what Eamsay thought, he was permitted 
to indulge his incorrigible insouciance, and to render to Dr 
Wilmot's talent the original homage of believing it superior 

2 D 


to his judgment and his avowed conviction. For the rest, 
Bamsay professed himself, and with reason, to be the worst 
person in the world in a sick-room— no use, and " awfully 
frightened ; " and accordingly he seldom made his appear- 
ance in Madeleine's room, after the daily visit of a few 
minutes, which was de rigueur, and during which he in- 
variably received the same answer to his inquiries, that she 
was better — a statement which it suited him to receive as 
valid, and which he therefore did so receive. Wilmot saw 
very little of him ; no part of the hardness of his task came 
to him from Madeleine's husband. It was at her father's 
hands that "Wilmot suffered most, and most constantly. 
Kilsyth held two articles of faith in connection with "Wil- 
mot: the first, that he was infallible in judgment; the 
second, that he was inexhaustible in skill and resources. 
And now these articles of belief clashed, and Kilsyth was 
swayed about between them, — a prey now to helpless grief, 
again to groundless and unreasonable hope. Certainly 
Madeleine was very ill. Wilmot was right, no doubt ; but 
then Wilmot would save her : he had saved her before, 
when she was also very ill. Then the poor father would 
have the difference between fever and consumption, in 
point of assured fatality, forced upon his attention, and an 
interval of despair would set in. But whether his mood 
was hope or despair, an effort to attain resignation, or a 
mere stupor of fear and grief, Wilmot had to witness, 
Wilmot had to combat them all. The old man clung to 
the doctor with piteous eagerness and tenacity on his way 
to begin the watch over his patient which he maintained 
daily for hours, as he had done in the old time at Kilsyth 
— time in reality so lately passed, but seeming like an 
entire lifetime ago. When he left her to take the short 
and troubled sleep which fell upon her in the afternoon ; 
in the evening, when he came again ; at night, after he had 
administered the medicine which was to procure her a tem- 


perary reprieve from the cough, which her father could no 
longer endure to hear, Kilsyth would waylay him, beset 
him with questions, with entreaties — or, worse still, look 
speechless into his face with imploring haggard eyes. 

This to the man for whom the young life ebbing away, 
with terrific rapidity indeed, but with merciful ease on the 
whole, was the one treasure held by the earth, so rich for 
others, such a wilderness for him ! Tes — her life ! When 
he knew she was married, and thus parted from him for 
ever, he had thought the worst that could have come to 
him had come. But from the moment he had looked again 
into the innocent sweet blue eyes, and read, with the 
unerring glance of the practised physician, that death was 
looking out at him from them, he learned his error. Then 
too he learned how much, and with what manner of love, 
he loved Madeleine Kilsyth. 

" Give her life, and not death, O gracious Disposer of 
both ! and I am satisfied — and I am happy ! Life, though 
I never see her face again ; life, though she never hears my 
name spoken, or remembers me in her lightest thought ; 
life, though it be to bless her husband, and to transmit her 
name to his children ; life, though mine be wasted at the 
ends of the earth ! " This was the cry of his soul, the 
utterance of the strong man's anguish. But he knew it 
was not to be; the physician's eye had been unerring 

Lady Muriel bore herself on this, as on every other 
occasion, irreproachably. The first enunciation of the 
doctor's opinion had startled her. She did not love her 
step-daughter, but of late she had been on more affectionate 
terms with her ; and it was not possible that she could 
learn that she was doomed to an early death without terror 
and grief. Lady Muriel knew well how unspeakably dear 
to Kilsyth his daughter was; and apart from her keen 
womanly sympathies all enlisted for the fair young suflerer 

2 D 2 


she felt with agonizing acuteness for her husband's suffer- 
ing. The first meeting between Lady Muriel and "Wilmot 
had been under agitating circumstances ; and the appeal 
made to him by Kilsyth had at once established him on the 
old footing with them — a footing which had not existed 
previously in London, having been interrupted by Wilmot's 
domestic affliction, and the tacit but resolute opposition of 
Ronald. But even then, in that first interview, when 
emotion was permissible, when Dr Wilmot was forced by 
his position to make a communication to the father and 
brother which even a stranger must necessarily have found 
painful, and though he imposed superhuman control over 
his feelings, Lady Muriel had seen the truth, or as much 
of the truth as one human being can ever see of the verities 
of the heart of another. She had received him gravely, 
but so that, had he cared to interpret her manner, it might 
have told him he was welcome in more than the sense of 
his value in this dread emergency ; and it had been a sens- 
ible relief to Ronald to perceive that Lady Muriel had not 
suffered the pride and suspicion which had dictated her 
remonstrance to him to appear in any word or look of hers 
which Wilmot could perceive. But when Lady Muriel 
was alone she said to herself bitterly : 

" Ho did love her, then ; he does love her ! He is aw- 
fully chauged ; and this has changed him — not her illness, 
not the fear of her death — the change is the work of months 
— but the loss of her. Her marriage — this has made his 
life valueless, this has made him what he is." Then she re- 
mained for a long time sunk in thought, her dark eyes 
shaded by her hand. At length she said, ft&jf aloud 

" She is not all to be pitied, even if thi^be indeed true 
and past remedy. She has been well beloved." 

There was a whole history of solitude and vain aspira- 
tion in the words. Had not she too, Lady Muriel Kilsyth 
been well beloved ? True; but all the homage, all the de-' 


votion of an inferior nature could not satisfy hers. This 
woman would be content only with the love of a man her 
intellectual superior, her master in strength of purpose 
aud of will. She had seen him ; he had come ; and he 
loved not her, but the simple girl with blue eyes and golden 
hair who was dying, and whom he would love faithfully 
when she should be dead. Lady Mui'iel did not deceive 
herself. She had the perfect comprehension of Wilmot 
which occult sympathy gives — she knew that he would 
never love another woman. She knew, when she recalled 
the ineffable mournfulnesa which sat upon his face, not the 
garment of an occasion, but the habitual expression which 
it had taken, that the hope which but for her might have 
been realized, had been the forlorn hope of his life. It was 
over now ; and he was beaten by fate, by death, by Lady 
Muriel's will. He would lay down his arms ; he would 
never struggle again. 

Knowing this, Lady Muriel Kilsyth dreamed no more. 
The vision of a love which, pure and blameless, would have 
elevated, fortified, and sweetened her life, faded never to 
return. Her gentle step- daughter, who would have been 
incapable of such a thought or such a wish, had she known 
how Lady Muriel had acted towards her, was at that mo- 
ment amply avenged. 

In vain she had laboured to effect this loveless marriage; 
in vain she had placed in the untrustworthy hands of 
Ramsay Caird the happiness and the fortune of her hus- 
band's beloved daughter; in vain had she been deaf to the 
truer, better promptings of her conscience, to the haunting 
thought of the responsibility which she had undertaken to- 
wards the girl, to the remembrance of Madeleine's dead 
mother, which sometimes came to her and troubled her 
sorely ; in vain had she tempted that dread and inexorable 
law of retribution, which might fall upon the heads of her 
own children. How mad, how guilty, she had been ! She 


saw it all now ; slie understood it all now. How could she, 
who had learned to comprehend, to appreciate Wilmot, — 
how could she have imagined for a moment that any senti- 
ment once really entertained by him could be light and 
passing ! She recognized, with respect at least, if with an 
abiding sense of humiliation, the truth, the strength, , the 
eternal duration of Wilmot's love for Madeleine. Truly, 
many things, in addition to the beautiful young form, were 
destined to go down into the grave of Madeleine Kilsyth. 

There was so much similarity between the thoughts of 
Lady Muriel and those of Chudleigh "Wilmot, that he too, 
after that first visit, which had shown him the dying girl 
and revealed to him how he loved her, pondered also upon 
an unconscious vengeance fulfilled. 

Mabel ! She had died in his absence, neglected by him, 
inflicting upon him an agonizing doubt, almost a certainty, 
but at least a doubt never to be resolved in this world — a 
dread never to be set at rest. He did not believe that had 
he been with her he could have saved her ; but no matter ; 
he had stayed away ; he had given to another the love, the 
care, the time, the skill that should have been hers, that 
were her right by every law human and divine. And now ! 
The woman he had preferred to her, the woman by whose 
side he had lingered, the woman he loved, was dying, and he 
had come to her aid too late ! He could see her, it was 
true ; he might be with her ; it was possible he might hear 
her last words — might see her draw her last breath ; hut 
she was lost to him, lost unwon, lost for eyer, as Mabel had 
been ! It was late in the night before "Wilmot had suffi- 
ciently mastered these thoughts and the emotions which 
they aroused to be able to apply himself to studying the 
details of Madeleine's case, and arranging his plan, not in- 
deed of cure, but of alleviation. 

Among the letters awaiting his attention there was one 
from Mrs Prendergast. She requested him to call on her j 


she wished to consult him concerning the matter they had 
talked of. The following morning he wrote her a line say- 
ing he could not attend to anything for the present ; and 
subsequently Henrietta learned from Mrs Charlton, through 
Mrs M'Diarmid, that "Wilmot had consented to act as phy- 
sician to Mrs Caird, whom he pronounced to he in hopeless 

Henrietta went home grave and pensive, thinking much 
of her dead friend, Mabel Wilmot. 

Time had gone inexorably on since that day, laden every 
hour of it with grief to Wilmot, with immense and compli- 
cated responsibility, with the dread of the rapidly-approach- 
ing end. There had been hours — no, not hours, moments 
— when he almost persuaded himself that he might be 
wrong, that it was still time, that a warm climate might 
yet avail. But the delusion was only momentary ; and he 
had told Madeleine's father and brother from the first that 
she was unfit for a journey, that the most merciful course 
was to let her die at home in peace, among the people and 
the things to whom and to which she was accustomed. He 
understood the attachment of an invalid to the inanimate 
objects around her ; an attachment strongly developed in 
Madeleine, whose dressing-room, where she lay on the sofa 
all day, contained all her girlish treasures. She was always 
awake early in the morning, and anxious to be carried from 
her bed to her sofa, whence she would wistfully watch the 
door until it opened and admitted Wilmot. Then she 
would smile — such a happy smile too ! Only a pale reflec- 
tion in point of brightness, it is true, of the radiant smile of 
the past, but full of the old trust and happiness and peace. 
Her father came early too, and received the report of how 
she had passed the night, and controlled himself wonder- 
fully, poor old man ! for agitation and disquiet were very 
bad for his darling ; and he was strengthened by Wilmot's 
example. It never occurred to Kilsyth to remember that 


"Wilmot was " only the doctor," and therefore might Avell 
be calm ; he never reasoned about "Wilmot at all — he only- 
felt and trusted. The world outside the sick-room went on 
as usual. Within it Madeleine Caird lay dying, not ident- 
ically, not of the fanciful extinction which consumption be- 
comes in the hands of the poet and the romancer, but of 
the genuine, veritable, terrible disease, not to be robbed by 
wealth, or even by comfort or skill, of its terrors. Those 
who know what is meant when a person is said to be dying 
of consumption need no amplification of the awful signifi- 
cance of the phrase. Those who do not — may they remain 
in their ignorance ! 

And Madeleine ? Amid the contending emotions, amid 
the varied suffering which surrounded her,- and had all its 
origin in her, how was it with Madeleine ? On the whole, 
it was well. A strange phrase to apply to a young woman, 
a young wife, an idolized daughter, who was dying thus, of 
a disease which kills more thoroughly, so to speak, than any 
other, doing its dread office with slowness, and marking its 
progress day by day. She knew she was dying, though 
sometimes she did not feel it very keenly ; the idea did not 
come to her as relating to herself, but with a sort of outside 
meaning. This dulness would last for days, and then she 
would be struck by the truth again, and would realize it 
with all the strength of mind and body left to her. Eealize 
it, not to be terrified by it, not to resist it, not to appeal 
against it, but to accept it, to acquiesce in it, to be satisfied 
and profoundly quiet. Madeleine's notions of God and eter- 
nity were vague, like those of most young people. She had 
been brought up in a careful observance of the forms of the 
Episcopal Church in Scotland, and she had always had a 
certain devotional turn, which accompanies good taste and 
purity of mind in young girls. But she had never looked 
at life or death seriously, in the true sense, at all. Senti- 
mentally she had considered both, extensively of course; 


had she not read all the poetry she could lay her hands on, 
and a vast number of essays ? Of late a voice whoso tones 
she had never before heard, still and small, had spoken to 
her — spoken much and splemnly in her girlish heart, and 
had taught her, in the silent suffering and doubt, the un- 
seen struggle she had undergone, great things. She kept 
her own counsel ; she listened, and was still ; and the chain 
of earth fell from her fair soul while yet it held her fair 
form in its coil a little longer. Madeleine had looked into 
her life to find the meaning of her Creator in it. She had 
found it, and she was ready for the summons, which was 
not to tarry long. 

One day, when she had told "Wilmot that she was won- 
derfully easy, had had quite a good night, and had hardly 
coughed at all since morning, he was sitting by her sofa, 
and she, lying with her face turned towards him, had fallen 
into a light sleep. He drew a coverlet closely round her, 
and signed to the nurse that she might leave the room. 
Then he sat quite still, his face rigid, his hands clasped, 
looking at her; looking at the thin pale face, with the 
blazing spots of red upon the cheek-bones, with the darkened 
eyelids, the sunken temples, the dry red lips, the damp, 
limp, golden hair. As in a phantasmagoria, the days at 
Kilsyth passed before him ; the day of his arrival, the day 
the nurse had asked him whether the golden hair must be 
cut off, the day he had pronounced her out of danger. Out- 
wardly calm and stern, what a storm of anguish he was 
tossed upon ! "Words and looks and little incidents — small 
things, but infinite to him — came up and tormented him. 
Then came a sense of unreality ; it could not be, it was not 
the same Madeleine; this was not Kilsyth's beautiful 
daughter. His hands went up to his face, and a groan 
burst from his lips. The sound frightened him. He looked 
at her again ; and as he looked, her eyes opened, and she 
began to speak. Then came the frightful, the inevitable 


cough. He lifted her upon his arm, kneeling by her side, 
and the paroxysm passed oyer. Then she looked at him 
very gently and sweetly, and said : 

" Are we quite alone ? " 


" Do you remember one night at Kilsyth, when I was very 
ill, I asked you whether I was going to die ? " 

"I remember," he said, with a desperate effort to keep 
down a sob. 

"And I told you I was very glad when you said, 'No.' 
Do you remember ? " 

"Yes — I remember." 

She paused and looked at him ; her blue eyes were as 
Bteady as they were bright. " If I asked you, but I don't — 
I don't " — she put out her wasted hand. He took the thin 
fingers in his, and trembled at their touch — " because I know 
— but if I did, you would not make me the same answer 

He did not speak, he did not look at her ; but her eyes 
pertinaciously sought his, and he was forced to meet them. 
She smiled again, and her fingers clasped themselves round 

"You will always be papa's friend," she said. "Poor 
papa — he will miss me very much ; the girls are too young 
as yet. And Ronald — I have something to say to you 
about Eonald. Sit here, close to me, in papa's chair, and 

He changed his seat in obedience to her, and listened ; 
his head bent down, and her golden hair almost touching his 

" Something came between Eonald and me for a little 
while," she said, her low voice, which had hardly lost its 
sweetness at all, thrilling the listener with inexpressible pain. 
" I cannot tell what exactly ; but it is all over now, and he 
is — as he used to be — the best and kindest of brothers. But 


there is some one — not papa ; I am not talking of poor papa 
now — better and kinder still. Do you know whom I mean ? " 
The sweet steady blue eyes looked at him quite innocent and 
unabashed. " I mean you." 

" Me ! " he said, looking up hastily ; "me!" 

" Yes ; best and kindest of all to me. And when Eonald 
will not have me any longer, I want you to promise me to be 
his friend too. They say he is hard in his disposition and 
his ways ; he never was to me, but once for a little while ; 
and I should like him to see you often, and be with you 
much, that he may be reminded of me. As long as he re- 
members me he will not be hard to any one ; and he will re- 
member me whenever he sees you." 

Thus the sister interpreted the brother's late repentance, 
and endeavoured to render it a source of blessing to the two 
men whom she loved. 

" "When you left Kilsyth," she said, " and came here, and 
when I heard the dreadful affliction that had befallen you, it 
made me very unhappy. It seemed, somehow, awful to me 
that sorrow should have come to you through me." 

"It did not," he replied. "Don't think so; don't say 
bo ! Did any one tell you so ? It would have come all the 
same — " 

" It would not," she said solemnly ; " it would not. If 
I never felt it before, I must have come to feel it now, that 
I caused unconsciously a dreadful misfortune. Tou are here 
with-me ; you make suffering, you make death, light and easy 
to me. And you were away from her when she was 
dying who had a right to look for you by her side. I hope 
she has forgiven me where all is forgiven." 

There was silence between them for a while. "Wilmot's 
agony was quite beyond description, and almost beyond even 
his power of self-control. Madeleine was quite calm ; but 
the bright red spots had faded away from her cheek-bones, 
and she was deadly pale. His eyes were fixed upon her face 


— eagerly, despairingly, as though he would have fixed it 
before them for ever, a white phantom to beset, of his free will, 
all his future life. Another racking fit of coughing came on, 
and then, when it had subsided, Madeleine fell again into one 
of the sudden short sleeps which had become habitual to her, 
and which told Wilmot so plainly of the progress of ex- 
haustion. It was only of a few minutes' duration ; and when 
she again awoke, her cheeks had the red spots on them once 
more. He watched her more and more eagerly, to see if she 
would resume the tone in which she had been speaking, and 
which, while it tortured him to listen to it, he had not the 
courage to interrupt or interdict. There was a little, a very 
little more excitement in the voice and in the eyes as she 

" You are not going to be a doctor any more, they tell me, 
now that you are a rich man." 

" No," he said, in a low but bitter tone. " I am done 
with doctoring. All my skill and knowledge have availed me 
nothing, and they are nothing to me any more." 

"Nothing! And why?" 

" O Madeleine," he said, — and as he spoke he fell on his 
knees beside the sofa on which she lay — " how can you ask 
me ? What have they done for me ? They have not saved 
you. I asked nothing else — no other reward for all my years 
of labour and study and poverty and insignificance — nothing 
but this. Even at Kilsyth, when you had the fever, I asked 
nothing else. I got it then, for they did save you. Tes, 
thank God, they did save you then for a little time ! But 
now, now — " And, forgetful of the agitation of his patient, 
forgetful of everything in the supreme agony, Chudleigh 
Wilmot hid his face in the coverlet of the sofa and wept — 
wept the burning and distracting tears it is so dreadful to see 
a man shed. Madeleine raised herself up, and tried to lift 
his head in her feeble, wasted hands. Then he recovered 
himself with a tremendous effort, and was calm. 

Q17AND MEMe! 413 

" I must tell you," he said, " having said what you have 
heard. Madeleine, there is no sin, no shame in what I am 
going to tell you. I will tell it to your father and your 
brother yet ; I would tell it to your husband, Madeleine. 
When I went away from England, I took a vision with me. 
It was, that I might return some time and ask for your love. 
It faded, Madeleine ; but I claim, as the one solitary conso- 
lation which life can ever bring me, to tell you this : you are 
the only woman I have ever loved." 

Madeleine looked at him still ; the colour rose higher 
and brighter on her wasted cheeks ; the light blazed up in 
her blue eyes. 

"Did you love me," she said, "because you saved my 
life ? " 

" I don't know, child. I loved you — I loved you ! That 
is all I know. I know 1 ought not to say it now ; but I 
must, I must ! " 

" Hush ! " she said ; " and don't shiver there, and don't 
cry. It is not for such as you to do either." He resumed 
his seat ; she gave him her hand again, and lay still looking 
at him — looking at him with her blue eyes full of the inex- 
plicably awful look which comes into the eyes of the dying. 
After a while she smiled. 

" I am very glad you told me," she said. " People said 
you never cared for the patient, only for the case ; but since 
you have been here I have known that was not true. It 
is better as it is. If your vision had come true, I must 
have died all the same, and then it would have been harder. 
It is easier now." 

Another fit of coughing — a frightful paroxysm this time. 
Wilmot rang for the nurse, and Kilsyth and Lady Murie. 
entered the room with her. 

# # # # # 

Several hours later Madeleine was lying in the same 
place, still, tranquil, and at ease. She had had a long in- 


terval of respite from the cough, and was cheerful, even 
bright. Her father was there, and Ronald ; Lady Muriel 
also, but sitting at some distance from her, and looking 
very sad. 

"When the time came at which Madeleine was to be re- 
moved to her bed, Ronald and "Wilmot took leave ; the first 
for the night, the second to return an hour later, and give 
final instructions to the nurse. 

"Wilmot's left hand hung down by his side as he stood 
near her, and Madeleine touched a ring upon his little finger. 

" What is the motto on that ring ? " she asked. 

"The untranslateable French phrase, which I always 
think is like a shrug in words : Quand mime," he replied. 

The ring was the seal-ring which his wife had been used 
to wear. It struck him with a new and piercing pain, amid 
all the pains of this dreadful day, that Madeleine should 
have noticed it, and reminded him of it then. 

" Quand wienie," she said softly. " Notwithstanding, even 
bo — ah, it can't be said in English, but it means the same 
in every tongue." He bent over her, no one was near, her 
eyes met his; she said, "I am very happy— very happy, 
quand mime ! " 

# # * * # 

"Wilmot went home and sat down to think — to think 
over the words he had spoken and heard. He was over- 
powered with the fatigue, the excitement, the emotion of 
the day. A thousand confused images floated before his 
weary eyes ; the room seemed full of phantoms. "Was this 
illness ? Could it be possible ? No, that must not be ; he 
could not be ill ; he had not time. After — yes, after, illness 
— anything ! but not yet. He called for wine and bread, 
and ate and drank. His thoughts became clearer, and 
arranged themselves ; then he became absorbed in reflection. 
He had told his servant he should require the carriage in an 
hour, and, hearing a noise in the hall, he started up, think- 


ing the time had come. He opened his study-door, and 
called — 

" Is that the brougham, Stephen ? " 

" No, sir," said the man, presenting himself with an air 
of having something important to say. 

" What is it then ? " said Wilmot impatiently. 

" A messenger from Brook-street, sir ; Captain Kilsyth's 
man, sir." 

"Wilmot went out into the hall. The man was there 
looking pale and frightened. 

" What is it, Martin ? what is it ? " 

" Captain Kilsyth sent me, sir, to let you know that 
Mrs Caird is dead, sir, — a few minutes after you left, sir. 
Went off like a lamb. They didn't know it, sir, till the 
nurse came to lift her into bed." 



Yes, she was dead ; had died with a smile upon her lips ; 
had died at peace and charity with all ; had died knowing 
that the man whom she had looked up to and reverenced, had 
loved with all the pure and guileless love of her young heart, 
had loved her also, and had so loved her that he had suffered 
in silence, and only spoken when the confession could bring 
no remorse to her, even no longing regret for what might 
have been. Even no longing regret ? No ! " Happy, 
quand inenie," were the last words that ever passed her lips ; 
"happy, quand mime" — she had been something to him after 
all! In the few short and fleeting hours which she had 
passed between hearing Chudleigh Wilmot's confession, 
wrung from his heart by the great agony which possessed 


him, she had pondered over the words which he had spoken 

with inexpressible delight. "What can we tell, we creatures 

moulded in coarser clay, creatures of baser passions, soiled in 

the perpetual contact with earth, its mean fears and gross 

aspirations, if aspirations they may be called, — what can we 

tell of the feelings of a young girl like this ? Death, which 

we contemplate as the King of Terrors, threatening us with 

his uplifted dart, and destined to drag us away from the 

stage of life, bright with its tawdry tinsel and its garish 

splendour, came to her in softer and more kindly guise. Tor 

months she had been expecting the advent of the " shadow 

cloaked from head to foot," in whose gentle embrace she 

knew that she must shortly find herself. Those around her, 

her loving, doting father, Lady Muriel, Ronald, softened by 

the silent contemplation of her gradually-decreasing strength, 

the daily ebbing of physical force, the daily loosening of even 

the slight hold on life which she possessed, visible even to 

his unpractised eyes, — none of these had the smallest idea 

that the frail delicate creature, round whose couch they stood 

day by day with forced smiles and feigned hope, knew better 

than any of them, better even than he whose professional 

skill had never been brought into such play, how swiftly the 

current of her life was bearing her on to the great rapids of 

Eternity. And if before she had heard those burning words, 

intensified by the agony shown in the choking voice in which 

they found their utterance, she had been able calmly and not 

unwillingly to contemplate her fate, how much greater had 

been her resignation, how much more readily did she accept 

the fiat, when she learned that the one love of her life had 

been returned ; and that, despite of all that had come 

between them, despite the interposition of the dread barrier 

which had apparently so effectually separated them from each 

other, the man who had been to her far beyond all others 

had singled her out as the object of his adoration ' 

In those few last earthly hours the "what might havs 


been " had passed through her mind, and passed away again, 
leaving behind it no trace of anguish or remorse. Not only 
to "Wilmot had the time since their first acquaintance at Kil- 
syth passed in review in phantasmagoric semblance ; Made- 
leine had often gone through such scenes in the short drama, 
recollecting every detail, remembering much which had been 
overlooked even in his rapid summary. " What might have 
been ! " Even suppose the dearest, the only real aspiration 
of her heart had been accomplished, and she had become 
Chudleigh Wilmot's wife, would not the inevitable end have 
had additional distress and misery to both of them ? The 
inevitable end ! for she must have died — she knew that ; not 
for one instant did she imagine that any combination of cir- 
cumstances different from what had actually occurred could 
have averted or postponed the fulfilment of the dread decree. 
Her married life had not been specially happy ; then should 
she not have less regret in leaving it ? "Would not the pangs 
of parting be robbed of half their bitterness by the know- 
ledge that her husband left behind would not sink under the 
blow ? What might have been ! Ah, Wilmot would feel 
her loss acutely, she knew that ; the one outburst of grief, of 
passionate tenderness and heartfelt agony, which had escaped 
him had told her that ; but he would feel it less than if what 
might have been had been, and she had been taken away 
from him in the early days of their love and happiness. 

A notion that such thoughts as these might have filled 
the mind of her for whom they mourned occurred to each of 
those by whom the dead girl was really loved, not indeed at 
once nor simultaneously, but at divers times, as they pondered 
over the blank which her loss had left in their lives. Among 
this number Mr Ramsay Caird was not to be reckoned. The 
solemn announcement which, at his own request, Dr Wilmot 
had made to him as to the impossibility of his wife's recovery 
and the probable short duration of her illness, had had very 

little effect on the young man. What were the motives which 



prompted him were known to himself alone ; but the insou- 
ciance, to use the mildest term for it, which had prompted him 
during the whole of his short married life seemed in no way- 
diminished even by the dread news which had been commu- 
nicated to him. He acknowledged that he had seen Dr 
"Wiimot, and had asked his opinion ; that that opinion had 
been very serious, and to some persons would have been 
alarming, but that he was not easily alarmed, and that he 
was utterly and entirely incredulous in the present instance. 
Madeleine had a bad cough, and was naturally delicate on 
her chest, and that sort of thing ; she did not wrap up enough 
when she went out, and sat in draughts ; but as to the way 
in which they all went on about her — well, they would find 
that he was right, and then they would be sorry they had 
listened to any such nonsense. He said this to Lady Muriel ; 
for both Kilsyth and Eonald shrunk from any communication 
with him. Bitterest among all the bitter feelings which 
oppressed these two men, so different in mind and spirit, but 
with their love centered on the same object, was the thought 
that they had given up the guardianship of their treasure to 
one who was utterly unworthy' of it, and, as one of them at 
least confessed to himself with keen remorse, had blighted 
two lives by unreasoning and short-sighted pride. 

So, "while his young wife had been gradually declining, 
Uamsay Caird had made very little alteration in the mode of 
life which he had thought fit to pursue since the earliest days 
of his marriage. Belying principally on the fact, which he 
was constantly urging, that he was of "no use," he absented 
himself more and more from his home ; and when " doing 
duty " there, as he phrased it, strove in no way to hide the 
dislike with which he regarded the irksome task. Com- 
panionship was necessary to Eamsay Caird, and was not to 
be obtained, he found, among the class with whom since his 
arrival in London and his domestication in Brook-street he 
had been accustomed to associate. The men who had been 


pleasantly familiar with him in those days stood aloof, and 
Beemed by no means anxious to continue the acquaintance. 
They had come, soon after his marriage, and dined in the 
little red-flocked tank in Squab-street, but that was princi- 
pally for Madeleine's sake ; and when rumours as to the 
newly-founded menage grew rife, and more especially after 
Tommy Toshington's delightful story of seeing Caird at 
Madame Favorita's door had got wind, the men generally 
agreed that he was a bad lot, and fought as shy.of him as was 
compatible with common politeness. For it is to be noted 
that the loose-living Benedick, the married man who glories 
in his own escapades and talks with unctuous smack of his 
dissipations, is generally shunned by those men of his own 
set who are by no means strait-laced, and forced to seek his 
company in a lower grade. 

Ranisay Caird began to be bored and oppressed by his 
wife's illness, and by the constant presence of her father and 
brother at his house. It is true that he never saw these 
unwelcome visitors — on both sides any meeting was studi- 
ously avoided — but he could not help knowing of their being 
constantly with the invalid ; and his own conscience, as much 
of it as he had ever possessed, did not fail to tell him what 
must be their indubitable opinion of him and his conduct. 
The companions too with whom he had taken up — for 
Eamsay Caird was essentially gregarious, and especially 
during the last few months had found the impossibility of 
living without excitement — the new companions with whom 
he consorted, and who were principally half-sporting, half- 
military, whole raffish adventurers, always well dressed, and 
retaining a certain hold on society, where they once had been 
well received,— these men encouraged Caird in his dislike 
to his home, and assisted him in the invention of plausible 
excuses to get away from it. The fact that he had " gone 
on to the turf," which he had at first taken every precaution 
to prevent his connections in Brook-street from becoming 

2 e 2 


acquainted with, and which, when some kind common friend 
had told them of it, struck Kilsyth with silent horror, and 
aroused much burning and outspoken indignation in 
Ronald, was now put forward on every occasion, just as 
though it had been a legitimate business on which he was 
employed. " Meetings " were constantly taking place all 
over the country at which his attendance was indispensable, 
and he was soon well known as one of the regular fre- 
quenters of the betting-ring. On his return the servants 
in Squab-street could generally tell what had been the 
result of his betting speculations ; but only to them and to 
one other person did he ever show his temper. And that 
one other person was Lady Muriel — the proud Lady Muriel 
— who in all matters between her husband and this man, 
who by her instrumentality had become the husband of her 
husband's daughter, had to be the go-between ; to her it was 
left to soften his irregularities and gloss them over as best 
she might, and she alone possessed his confidence. To be 
the confidante of a gambler and the apologist for a debauchee 
was scarcely what Lady Muriel had expected when she 
gave her pledge to dying Stewart Caird, and when she 
intrigued and manoeuvred so successfully in gaining her step- 
daughter's hand for Ramsay. 

Three days before Madeleine's death Ramsay Caird an- 
nounced to Lady Muriel, whom he stopped as she was about 
to ascend the stairs to the invalid's room, that he wanted to 
speak to her, and, on joining him in the red-flocked tank, 
told her that he was about to start that night for Paris. 
There were races at Chantilly in which he was very much 
interested, having a large sum at stake, and it was absolutely 
necessary that he should be on the spot to watch and avail 
himself of the fluctuations in the betting-ring. Then, for the 
first time during their acquaintance, Lady Muriel spoke out 
to her quondam protege. The long-repressed emotions under 
which she was suffering seemed to have given her eloquence ; 


she drew a vivid picture of " what might have been " if Ram- 
say's conduct had been different, and lashed his present life 
and pursuits, the company he kept, and the general degrada- 
tion into which he had fallen, with an unsparing tongue. She 
implored him to give up his intended journey, assuring him 
that he either would not or could not understand the extreme 
danger of his wife's position, pointing out to him what scan- 
dal must necessarily arise from his absenting himself at such 
a time, and telling him that his past conduct during his 
married life, already sufficiently commented upon by the 
world, might to a certain extent be condoned by his doing his 
duty and devoting himself to his home for the future. Ram- 
say listened impatiently, as men of his stamp always listen 
to such advice, and then he in his turn spoke out. He said 
that he would be his own master, that he would brook no in- 
terference with his plans, that already he was a mere cipher 
in his own house, which was invaded and occupied by other 
people at their own pleasure, and that he would stand it no 
longer ; then, after this outburst, he moderated his tone, 
apologized to Lady Muriel for his violence, and told her that, 
though the importance of his business arrangements and the 
largeness of his venture made it absolutely necessary for him 
to go to Paris on this occasion, yet it should be the last ; he 
would do as her ladyship wished him, as he felt he ought to 
do, and his enemies should find that he was not so black as 
by some persons he had been painted. 

So Eamsay Caird and a select circle of British turfites 
took their departure by that night's' mail, and enjoyed them- 
selves very much, smoking, drinking, and playing cards 
whenever it was practicable on the journey. Most of them 
were men whose acquaintance Caird had made some time 
previously ; but amongst them there was a Frenchman, a 
M. Leroux, whom Eamsay had never previously seen, al- 
though the little gentleman said he had frequently been in 
England, and seemed perfectly conversant with the English 


language, manners, and customs. He was a lively, vha- 
cious, gasconading little fellow; and any temporary de- 
pression of spirits which Eamsay Caird may have felt after 
his interview with Lady Muriel quite vanished under the 
influence of M. Leroux' s conversation. He and M. Leroux 
seemed to have taken a mutual liking to each other ; they 
went together to the races, where Caird won a large sum 
of money, Leroux not being quite so fortunate ; and on 
their return to Paris, Eamsay declined to join his English 
friends, and dined with Leroux and some very agreeable 
Frenchmen to whom Leroux had introduced him at the 
races. The dinner was excellent ; and after they had done 
full justice to it, and to the wines which accompanied it, 
they all adjourned to some neighbouring rooms belonging 
to one of their number, where cards and dice were speedily 
introduced. Again Eamsay Caird's luck stood by him. 
Malheureux en amour, he was destined to be lieureux en jeu 
on this occasion at least. Nothing could alter or diminish 
his flow of success ; no matter what he played, lansquenet, 
baccarat, hazard, he won largely at them all ; and when at 
a very late hour he left the rooms in company with Leroux 
and two of his friends, his pockets were filled with notes 
and gold. They were quite empty when they were ex- 
amined about noon the next day by the attendants at the 
Morgue, whither Eamsay Caird's dead body, found in the 
Seine with a deep gash in its breast, had been conveyed. 

M. Leroux and his friends did not come so well out of 
this little affair as they had expected. They knew that 
Eamsay was a stranger in Paris, known only to the English 
sporting-men in whose company he had arrived there, and 
who had probably returned to England. But they did not 
make allowance for the fact that of all cities Paris has a 
charm for the "English division," who, if they have won 
any money, linger for a few days amongst its pleasures, one 
of which undoubtedly is a frequent visit to the Morgue. 
By one of these late lingerers, no less a person than Cap- 


tain Severn, the body of Ramsay Caird was seen and re- 
cognized ; inquiries were at once set on foot ; the waiter 
at the restaurant, the concierge at the house where the play 
had taken place, were examined, and gave their evidence. 
M. Leroux and his two friends were apprehended ; one of 
the friends turned traitor (his share of the spoil had been 
too small), and Leroux and the other, being found guilty 
of murder under extenuating circumstances, were sen- 
tenced to the galleys for life. 

The news of this catastrophe was conveyed to the Kilsyth 
family in a letter addressed by Captain Severn to Eonald, 
which letter lay unopened in Brook-street for several days. 
Eonald Kilsyth was far too much crushed and broken by the 
blow, which, for all their long expectation of its advent, had 
yet fallen suddenly upon them at the -last, to attend to any- 
thing unconnected, as he imagined, with the dead. He had 
indeed carelessly glanced at the cover of this letter, with 
several others ; but the handwriting was unfamiliar to him, 
and he put it aside, to be opened at a later opportunity. It 
was not until two or three days afterwards, when Eamsay 
Caird had been sought in vain, and when Lady Muriel had 
confessed that he had confided to her his intention of going 
to Paris, that Eonald recollected the letter in the strange 
handwriting with the Paris postmark. He sent for the letter, 
and read it through without the smallest sign of emotion. 
He was a hard man, Eonald Kilsyth, and the softening effect 
of his sister's illness only included her and those who were 
fond of her. Eonald knew well enough that Eamsay Caird did 
not come within this category, and he felb no pity for his fate. 

He communicated the news to his father more as a 
matter of form than anything else ; for the shock of his 
beloved child's death had almost deprived Kilsyth of his 
reason. Like Eachel, he refused to be comforted, and 
would sit hour after hour in one position on his chair, his 
eyes fixed on vacancy, his chin resting on his breast, his 
hands idlv clasped before him. Nothing seemed to rouso 


him, — not even the news which had been conveyed to Eonald 
in Captain Severn's letter. He comprehended it, for he said 
" Poor Ramsay ! " once, and once only ; then heaved a deep 
sigh, and never alluded to his dead son-in-law again. His 
thoughts were filled with reminiscences of his lost darling, 
and he had none to bestow on any one else. "My poor 
Maddy!" " My bonnie lass ! " " My own childie ! "— he 
would sit and repeat these phrases over and over again ; then 
steal away down to the house where all that was left of her 
still lay, and remain on his knees by the coffin, until Eonald 
would come and half forcibly lead him away. He left 
London immediately after the funeral, and never could be 
persuaded to return to it. After a while, the fresh mountain 
air, to whicli he had been so long accustomed, and away from 
which he was never well, had some of its old restorative 
effect, and Kilsyth recovered most of his physical strength 
and some of his old pleasure in field sports ; but his zest for 
life was gone, and the gillies mourned the alteration in the 
chief whom they loved so much. 

The death of Ramsay Caird under such horrible circum- 
stances was a crushing blow to Lady Muriel. This, then, 
was the end of all her schemes and plots ; this the result of 
so much mental agony and remorse endured by herself — of 
so much grief and cruel injustice inflicted by her on others. 
She had kept the promise she had made to Stewart Caird on 
his death-bed, two lives had been sacrificed, two loves had 
been blighted — but she had kept her promise. For the first 
time in her life " my lady's " courage failed her ; and her con- 
science showed her how recklessly she had availed herself of 
the means to gain her ends. For the first time in her life 
she dreaded meeting the glances of the world. More than 
all men she dreaded Ronald Kilsyth, knowing as she did full 
well how she had used him for her own purposes, and with 
what lamentable results. She had been seriously affected bv 
Madeleine's death — like many worldly people, never knowine 
how much she had Invprl the girl until she lost her • and 


now the fact of Ramsay's murder under such discreditable 
circumstauces — a story which had been made public in the 
newspapers, where the world could glean the undeniable truth 
that the murdered man had left what was actually his wife's 
death-bed to attend some races — seemed to overwhelm her. 
The young men who visited at the house had been in the 
habit of expressing to each other great admiration of Lady 
Muriel's " pluck " — that quality did not desert her even at 
her worst. She made head against her troubles, and never 
gave in ; but those intimate enemies who saw her before she 
left London with her husband declared Lady Muriel to be 
" quite broken " and a " thorough wreck." 

And Ohudleigh "Wilmot ? He lived, of course ; lived, 
and ate and drank, and pursued very much his usual course 
of life. "Well, no ; not quite his usual course of life. The 
effect of the death of the one woman whom in his lifetime he 
had loved was to him much as are the gunshot wounds of 
which we sometimes hear officers and army surgeons tell ; 
wounds where the hit man feels a slight concussion at the 
moment, and does not know until a short time afterwards 
that he is stunned, paralyzed for ever. "While Wilmot had 
been watching the insidious progress of Madeleine's disease, 
his mental misery at times was most acute ; every variation 
in her was apparent to his practised eye ; and day by day he 
saw the destroyer creeping stealthily onward in his attack, 
without the smallest power to resist him. When the bitter 
tidings of her death were brought by Ronald's servant, the 
words fell upon Ohudleigh Wil mot's ear and smote him as if 
a sharp cut from a whip had fallen upon him. She whom he 
had loved so devotedly, so hopelessly, so selflessly, was dead 
— he realized that. He knew that he should never see the 
light in her blue eyes, never hear the sweet soft tones of her 
voice again. He was thankful that, under the impulse of 
his grief, he had spoken to her out of his overcharged heart 
and told her how he loved her. He dared not have done it 
before, he dared not under any other circumstances have con- 


fessed the passion for her that had so long been the motive- 
power of his life ; but then — " Happy, quand mime ! " Her 
last words— she never had spoken after that— her last words 
were addressed to him, and told him of her happiness. 

It was not until after the funeral that "Wilmot experi- 
enced the full effect of the blow, experienced it in the dead 
dull blankness which seemed for the second time to have 
fallen upon his life. He had had something of the kind be- 
fore, but nothing equal in intensity to what he now suffered. 
He felt as though the light had died out, and that hence- 
forward he was to walk in darkness, without care, without 
hope, without interest in any mortal thing. Previously he 
had found some relief in hard study ; now he found it im- 
possible to fix his attention on his books. The awful sense 
of something impending was perpetually upon him ; the 
more awful sense of something wanting in his life never left 
him. The only time that a ray of comfort broke in upon 
him was when Eonald Kilsyth would come and sit with him, 
and they would talk of the dead girl for hours together, as 
Madeleine had predicted they would do. They are very 
much together now, these two men ; Eonald has risen in the 
service, and he and "Wilmot are engaged in ameliorating the 
condition of the common soldiers and their families. It was 
a work in which Madeleine at one time took much interest ; 
and this was sufficient to recommend it to "Wilmot, who at 
once took it up. 

He is a middle-aged man now, with a grizzled head and 
a worn grave face. He has wealth and fame, and might have 
any position; but the world can offer him nothing that 
arouses in him the slightest interest, unless it be associated 
with the memory of his lost love. 


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I i i *T^^^mTMii< *"m— TMii I — a ff^i— ritl>il 



Author oj " Mary Barton" 13 c. 

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That fine tale marked the accession of another gifted writer to the honourable 
list of female contributors to the great stores of English prose fiction. The pre- 
sent story is a work of a similar character. Its pages are graphic, natural, un- 
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generous feeling. Her main objects seem to be to show how truly and how 
earnestly a fatal error may be expiated, and to exhibit the beauty and the efficacy 
of a tender and compassionate charity in dealing with its unhappy victim."— 
Morning Herald. 


" These well written and descriptive tales have already appeared ; they are 
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satisfaftion are, * The O'Connors of Castle Connor,' ' John Bull on the Guadal- 
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achievement, either ethical or aesthetical." — Saturday Review. 


m.i^.i i i i ijj, Jin — ' fj > «r~ > fr y <imr~» <i k We-* r tk ""»"■ '^-M ln T>q k .,mTn ii fr A jn ra hQ p HU « 





"A book which when taken in hand will not be willingly laid down by any 
novel reader till he has ended' it." — Athenneum. 

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' Kellys and O'Kellys ' made their first appearance, they immediately commanded 
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"The situation of two women in love with the same man has always been a 
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" ' Milly's Hero' is an interesting story, exceedingly well told. The book is full 
of charming touches of real life, done by one who has been able largely to notice 
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" A good novel." — Athinceum. 


r*j ■ — > rt - Tj '— *u'Ti u-'tyTii < —*ir*i) >-» ' )r*j — *tF*> <— »k~Tj >~ *u *i k-*»r^;i-i» ft^ 



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— 1 


By the author of " Lost Sir MassiKgperd." 

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By the author of "Emilia Wyndham." J 

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By Author of "Case of Cabblyon." 

Erlesmere; or, Contrasts of 

Chabactbh, By L. S. Lavenu. 

Nanette and Her Lovers. 

By Talbot Gwynne. 

Life and Death of Silas Barn- 

btabke. By Talbot Gwynne. 

Rose Douglas : the Autobio- 

obapht of a Scotch Ministbb's Daughteb. 

Tender and. True. 

By Author of "Claba Mobison." 

Gilbert Massenger. 

By Holkb Lbe. 

Thorney Ilall. 

^ ni_THi ^ Hqlmb Lbb. 

,MV J-ady: aTT'ale of Modern 


The -Cruelest Wrong of All. 

« of " Makgabbt." 

Lost and Won. 

By Gbob'Siaha li. Cbaie. 


By Holme Lee. 

Cousin Stella; or, Conflict. 

By Author of " Oncb and Again," 
"Skibmishing," &c. 

Florence Templar. 

By Mrs. P. Vidal. 

Highland Lassies. 

By Bbick Mackenzie. 

Wheat and Tares: a Modern 


Amberhill; or, Guilty Peace. 

By A. I. Babrowclsffb. 

Young Singleton. 

By Talbot Gwynne. 

A Lost Love. 

By Ashford Owen. 

My First Season. 

By Author of " Chahlbs Auchesteb." 

The White House by the Sea. 

A Lots Stobt. 

The Eve of St. Mark. 

By Thomas Do.bledat. 

Arrows in the Dark. 

By Author of " Said and Donb." 

24. Adrian L'Estrange ; or 

Moulded Out of Faults 

25. The Cotton Lord. 

By Hebbibt Gltn, 

26. A Simple Woman. 

By Author of "Nut-Bbown Maids. 

27. Skirmishing. 

By Author of "Cousin Stella. 

28. Farina: a Legend of Co- 

logicb. By Gbobgb Mbbedith. 

29. Normanton. 

By Author of " Ambebhill." 

30. Winifred's Wooing. 

By Gkorgiana M. Cbaik 

31. The School for Fathers. 

By Talbot Gwynne. 

32. Lena; or, the Silent Woman 

By Author of "Beyminstbe." 

S3. Paul Ferroll. 

By Author of "IX. Poems by V." 

34. Entanglements. 

By Author of "Mb. Able," "Castb," Ac 

35. Beyminstre. 

By the Author of " Leka. 



Counterparts ; or, the Cross 

of Love. By Author of" My Fibst Season." 








Leonora ; or, Fair and False. 

By Hon. Mrs. Mabeblby 


By Emma Wellsheb Atkinson. 

An Old Debt. 

By Florence Dawson. 

40. Uncle Crotty's Relations. 

By Hkbbbbt Glyn. 

Grey'B Court. 

Edited by Lady Chattbbton. 

A Bad Beginning. 

By Mrs. Macquoid 

Heiress of the Blackburn- 

foot. By Author of "A Life's Love." 

Over the Cliif. 

By Mrs. Chanter. 

Who Breaks- -Pays. 

By the Author of "Cotrsnc Stella," 
'" Skirmishing," "Once andAgaix,"&o 

Miss Gwynne of Woodford 

By Garth Rivers.